TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - It’s the law, but hundreds of drivers still break it every day in Florida when they whiz past first responders and service vehicles parked on the sides of roadways.
That's why the month of January is dedicated to reminding people to move over and avoid putting someone else's life in danger.
Shocking dash camera video released by the Florida Highway Patrol Wednesday shows the dangers of not following the 'move over' law. Two months ago, a driver slammed into a trooper’s cruiser in Lee County, seriously injuring the driver and catching his car on fire, and causing minor injuries to the trooper.
“When I see that, when I read that, my blood chills because it's just a startling thing,” said Ginger Darling, owner of Nationwide Towing in Palm Harbor.
She explained it's sometimes difficult for large service vehicles, like tow trucks. to pull all the way off the road.
“If you look at this white line right here," she said, pointing to the line dividing the roadway and the shoulder, "99 percent of the time, these trucks are right at it... Depending on the width of the flatbed, it could be a heavy duty truck, we're over the white line.”
Law enforcement, fire rescue, and drivers of tow trucks and utility vehicles say they deal with the fear every day of a driver not following the 'move over' law, which can turn into a deadly situation at any moment.
“In our industry, the average is one of us, every six days, is killed doing what we do,” said Darling.
FHP said if you can’t move over, drivers should slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit.
“When I talk to my customers and they're in the truck with me, I hand them a little thing on the slow down /move over law. It amazes me how many people really don't know what it is,” said Darling.
And or the entire month, those who do their jobs on the sides of Bay Area roadways ask drivers to be aware and slow down as soon as those flashing lights come into view.
“Just give us the opportunity to take care of you on the side of the road and then go home to our family and our friends,” said Darling.
There were 231 'move over' law-related crashes in Florida last year. In the Bay Area, the majority of those were in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
If you don’t follow the law, you could be fined.