Florida troopers are frustrated that motorists still haven’t learned to move over when they approach an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road.
Over the past 10 years, eight police officers have been killed in Florida by motorists who hit them or their vehicle. A law that went into effect a year and a half ago was supposed to help, but tells us drivers aren’t obeying it.
Sgt. Steve Gaskins worries more about being hit by a car while he’s on the job than he worries about getting shot.
“If you think of it, in a five or 10-minute traffic stop, you could have several hundred cars pass by you in that time frame, so just playing the numbers is against you.”
He’s got good reason to be worried. Between 1996 and 2000, nearly 1,800 police cars were hit by motorists and more than 400 officers injured. Five died.
The law that’s been on the Florida books since 2002 requires you to move over one lane as you approach a parked cruiser or emergency vehicle on the side of the road, or slow to 20 miles an hour less than the posted speed limit if you can’t move over, but few motorists seem to know about the law, let alone follow it.
Sgt. Gaskins says the problem hits close to home.
“I know of two troopers that I know of myself who I was friends with where they were either hit or injured or involved in a crash where they were on the side of the road doing their job and were hit by another motorist.”
Florida troopers gave warnings for violations of the “move over law” when it first went into effect, but they are now writing tickets.
The $50 fine goes into a fund for children of law enforcement officers killed by careless motorists.