First Responder Safety
Originating in South Carolina, the Move Over Law is designed to protect first responders from being injured or killed while performing their job duties. The law currently applies in all 50 states as well as Washington D.C., and in general the law states vehicles approaching an emergency vehicle should change lanes and travel in the lanes away from the emergency vehicle(s). If drivers are not able to change lanes they should slow to a speed where they can safely pass the emergency vehicles.
Various studies have proven that the American public is largely unaware of the laws pertaining to first responder safety. Over 2/3 of Americans are uninformed of the “Move Over” laws. According to the Department of Transportation, in 2015, 52 law enforcement were killed in traffic-related incidents with 11 of the officers being struck and killed outside their own vehicle. Traffic-related incidents are the number one cause of death among on duty police officers.
The legal penalties for not moving over for first responders also vary from state to state. Fines and jail are among the penalties. Besides being the law however, it is the right thing to do and moving over can be the difference in life and death for first responders. Move Over Laws call attention to the need to protect the safety of the first responders who place themselves at a high risk to protect motorists and keep our roads safe.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident due to another driver’s negligence in an area where first responders are present it is important to seek qualified legal counsel.
Who to Call
The attorneys at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice, and Purtz have over 50 years experience in personal injury law. Our 6 offices located in Southwest Florida are conveniently located in Fort Myers (2 offices), Cape Coral, Naples, Lehigh Acres, and Port Charlotte. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.