Florida Move Over Laws

Florida Move Over laws are put in place to keep emergency responders safe—and breaking them can cost you upwards of $160.
Written by Kianna Walpole
Edited by R.E. Fulton
background
In January 2024,
Florida’s
Move Over law will expand to include broken down vehicles displaying hazard lights, flares, or emergency signs—but they’re not the only vehicles you need to ‘move over’ for. 
  • Currently, Florida’s Move Over law mandates all motorists to move over—or slow down—for first responders, tow trucks, sanitation vehicles, and maintenance vehicles when warning lights are displayed.
  • According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), over 14,000 citations were given in 2022 for drivers failing to move over.
  • Florida drivers who don’t comply with the Florida Move Over law will be fined up to $158 and have 3 points added to their driving record. 

What is the Florida Move Over law?

Florida law requires all motorists to safely move over a lane on a two-lane road for a variety of emergency vehicles, including:
  • Tow trucks
  • Sanitation vehicles
  • Utility service vehicles 
  • Law enforcement 
  • Patrol cars
  • Fire trucks/emergency workers
  • Wreckers
  • Construction vehicles
If drivers are unable to move over a lane, they are required to reduce their speed to 20 mph under the posted speed limit, or slow down to 5 mph if the speed limit is 20 mph or less. 
This rule applies to both vehicles on the side of the road, as well as approaching emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights
Fast fact: In a recent report, the FLHSMV stated that over 14,000 citations were issued to Florida drivers in 2022 in regards to the Move Over Act. 
However, the law doesn’t just apply to motorists. According to
Title XXIII of the Florida Statutes
, pedestrians using the road shall yield their right-of-way until the emergency responders or vehicle has vacated the area. 
Similarly, the Florida DMV is required to provide all the necessary information about Florida’s Move Over Act as part of any new driver license educational materials.

AAA and Florida Move Over law expansion

In 2022, the American Automobile Association (AAA) started advocating for stricter rules in relation to Florida’s Move Over Act—and in 2023, they were heard.
Starting on January 1, 2024, Florida’s Move Over law will expand to incorporate disabled vehicles. This means drivers will be required to move over if they see a broken down vehicle: 
  • Displaying warning lights or hazard lights
  • Using emergency flares or emergency signage
  • Stopped and one or more people are visible and present
There’s a good reason for this expansion. AAA reported that between 2016-2020 alone, an average of 350 people were killed per year in the US while standing by a disabled vehicle. 
Did you know? Florida is the 17th state to adopt the Move Over law in the US.

Driving tips for Move Over law in Florida

With a high resident and tourist count, Florida roadways and highways are consistently busy—and each time a responder answers a roadside call, they’re putting their lives at risk. 
To make sure that all drivers and Florida highway patrol workers are safe, there are a few things motorists can do: 
  1. Keep alert: Focus on the road, and not all of the things that can distract you, such as
    texting and driving
    or changing the music mid-drive. 
  2. Check your mirrors: Always make sure to check your side mirrors and rear view mirror for any flashing lights, and be alert for sirens. They appear faster than you realize!
  3. Communicate: If you’re the passenger in a vehicle, make sure to also remain alert and remind the driver to move over or slow down, if it’s not safe to change lanes. 
  4. Watch the roadside: When you see a broken down vehicle, a good rule of thumb is to automatically move over or slow down. You don’t know who’s hidden by the vehicle! 

Move Over tips for stranded motorists

Sometimes while driving, your vehicle can malfunction. It happens to the best of us, and when it happens to you, whether you’re on a major Florida highway or a city road, use these tips to keep yourself safe while complying with the Move Over act:  
  1. Pull over: Get as close to the shoulder of the roadway as possible to give yourself more room between you and the oncoming traffic. If you’re on a highway and able to make it to the next exit safely, do this first, then pull over. 
  2. Hazard lights: Make sure to turn on your hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic that you are a disabled vehicle. 
  3. Call for assistance: A broken down vehicle will need help. Call either a tow or police officer for further aid. 
  4. Stay with your vehicle: Don’t move from your vehicle and avoid turning your back to traffic if possible. When getting out to greet law enforcement officers, watch for oncoming traffic and get out only when it’s safe to do so. 

What are the penalties for not following the Florida Move Over law?

In general, violators of Florida’s move over law will receive a penalty based on the severity of their charge. This is considered to be a non-criminal traffic infraction or a moving violation.
Those who are charged with this infraction will be expected to pay a fine between $60-$160 and their driving record will incur three
driver’s license points
. However, these penalties might be higher if the driver already has multiple points on their driving record or if this is their second offense.
Any offenders who cause any harm or damage may be subjected to much harsher fines and penalties. 

FAQs

There are only two reasons that may allow you to fight a Move Over law ticket in Florida: the emergency vehicle didn’t have emergency lights or a siren activated, or it wasn’t safe to slow down or move over. 
If you feel that you fall into either of these categories and were wrongly ticketed, it’s best to speak with a legal representative. 
A moving violation is charged when a driver commits a traffic infraction while the car is in motion. A non-moving violation is the opposite—when the driver violates a traffic law while the car is stagnant or still. 
Yes, Florida’s Move Over law mandates that all drivers must move over or slow down for tow trucks who are providing roadside assistance.
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