Florida cops: motorists not aware of new law

| 8/23/2002

A practice that is old-hat to truckers is going over like a lead balloon for Florida motorists. State officials say drivers aren't heeding a new law to protect law enforcement and emergency workers stopped on roadsides.

The "Move Over" law - which went into effect July 1 - requires drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles. Fifteen states have similar laws.

Cops say major arteries that don't offer much room on roadsides are particular "nightmare spots" for law enforcement and emergency workers. The biggest problem is drivers tend to "zone out" and either pay no attention to emergency vehicles or too much.

When approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights on a road with more than two lanes, motorists must move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, according to the new law. On two-lane roads, approaching vehicles must slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

The law's three-month grace period began last month. Starting Oct. 1, drivers risk an $86 fine and a citation if caught violating the law.