Slow Down and Move Over

I’m sure you’ve heard of Florida’s Move Over law that requires drivers to vacate the lane closest to an emergency vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, or tow truck when driving on the Interstate. And I’m confident that you know you are to slow down when approaching construction zones on our highways. But did you know that the Move Over law applies to sanitation and utility vehicles as well?

I didn’t until a friend told me she’d been pulled over for passing a garbage truck on Ft. King Street. She approached the truck decided she could safely pass since there was a lane available to the left of the truck in which she could drive. You can imagine her surprise when blue lights started flashing behind.

Truly confused, she asked what she’d done, to which the officer told her she’d violated the Move Over law. He went on to explain that drivers are required to reduce their speed by 20mph when passing a sanitation truck performing sanitation tasks. He then challenged her to think about how scary it would be to have traffic blow past while working on the side of the road.

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After admitting that she was unaware of the law, she explained her thought process as she passed the garbage truck, hoping to convince the officer she did carefully assess the situation prior to passing.

Fortunately, the officer used the opportunity to educate instead of writing a ticket and my friend’s spreading the word so others know of the requirements of the Move Over legislation. So, in addition to moving over on the Interstate, slow down when passing vehicles on city and neighborhood streets as well.

From Florida Statute 316.126Operation of vehicles and actions of pedestrians on approach of an authorized emergency, sanitation, or utility service vehicle.

If an authorized emergency vehicle displaying any visual signals is parked on the roadside, a sanitation vehicle is performing a task related to the provision of sanitation services on the roadside, a utility service vehicle is performing a task related to the provision of utility services on the roadside, or a wrecker displaying amber rotating or flashing lights is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, the driver of every other vehicle, as soon as it is safe:

1. Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, or wrecker when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, or wrecker, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. If such movement cannot be safely accomplished, the driver shall reduce speed as provided in subparagraph 2.
2. Shall slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, when driving on a two-lane road, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
Please, slow down and move over…not only to avoid a ticket, but for the safety of others.