Florida 'move over' violations drop in 2020

Crashes and citations related to violating Florida’s "move over" law were down in 2020, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The department reported 159 crashes and issued more than 12,000 citations involving the law, which requires motorists to shift lanes as soon as it is safe to do so when law enforcement, emergency or service vehicles are stopped along roads.

Motorists who cannot change lanes must slow to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted limit. The preliminary 2020 totals were down from 182 crashes in 2019 and 231 in 2018, while citations exceeded 20,000 in 2019 and 17,000 in 2018.

The drop in 2020 came as AAA reported the coronavirus pandemic reduced demands for fuel as traveling and daily commuting declined.

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"Each move-over related crash or citation is not simply a statistic, it represents a first responder or service professional — all with family and loved ones — who was carelessly put in danger while trying to serve and protect Floridians along the roadway," Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry Rhodes said in a prepared statement.

The law, first enacted in 1971 for emergency vehicles, was expanded in 2014 to include utility and sanitation vehicles.