Law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel, electric, telephone and cable TV utility workers, tow truck operators and Road Rangers have a hard-enough time dealing with vehicle crashes and other roadside emergencies. Those tasks are exponentially more dangerous if they are performing these duties while vehicles are whizzing by, sometimes barely inches away, while they are trying to save lives, treat injuries or restore vital services.

That is one reason why the vehicles these responders drive are equipped with flashing lights. The lights warning drivers they are rapidly approaching areas of critical danger. That is why the state’s Move Over Law requires vehicles about to pass vehicles parked on the roadside with flashing lights operating to either move over at least one lane from the parked vehicles or, if that’s not possible — say on a busy two-lane road — slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

Unfortunately, far too few motorists heed the Move Over Law. As a result, there were 231 crashes in Florida in 2018 and 17,000 citations issued statewide related to Move Over violations, according to preliminary figures from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

To reduce that number, the DHSMV and Florida Highway Patrol are joining with Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and AAA to highlight during January, which has declared Move Over Month, the need to obey the law.

“Troopers, first responders and utility workers put their lives on the line every day on our roadways,” says Col. Gene S. Spaulding, the FHP director. “Protect the men and women that answer the call for service in Florida and Move Over, so they can return home to their families.”

We concur.