Florida Highway Patrol wants you to "move over"
January is "Move Over" Month in Florida.
Friday, Florida Highway Patrol held a press conference at its Panama City location to discuss the importance of moving over. Last year more than 200 crashes and more than 60 injuries were caused by drivers failing to move over.
"The Move Over Act was enacted in 2002 to protect law enforcement officers, first responders, and other public servants as they provide critical services in one of the most dangerous environments: the side of the roadway," said Major Warren Fast, Troop Commander at Florida Highway Patrol.
In 2016, Florida law enforcement officials issued more than 5,000 citations to drivers who failed to move over.
Florida Highway Patrol officials tell us anything that takes your mind off driving is a distraction and cell phones are the main culprit.
"Any attention away from your driving duties is going to cause danger in the fact that your vehicle is going to travel hundreds of feet before you even notice what's going on," said Major Fast.
The law states when you're driving on a multi-lane roadway you must slow down when you see flashing lights of an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. If you can move over into the other lane. If you can't move over, reduce your speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
On a two-lane roadway, you must slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.
"These men and women behind me are mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and have families at home. This is just a critical issue when we're out conducting traffic operations and we're on the side of the road and for motorists to recognize that and to move over," said Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford.
Florida Highway Patrol officials encourage drivers to stay alert, be courteous, use common sense, and to not drive distracted.