A series of crashes on Florida’s highways involved the failure of drivers to slow down for the appropriate weather conditions and obey the state’s “Move-Over” law.
The crashes resulted in three deaths – including one Florida Highway Patrol trooper – and several serious injuries, including another state trooper.
Fort Myers car accident attorneys know that these incidents are going to mean that troopers and law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for violators of these laws, with the hope of significantly reducing future tragedies.
In the summer especially, it’s important to drive home this message because there tends to be more traffic in general which generates more likelihood of crashes. Beyond that, South Florida summers are characterized by often daily torrential downpours, which decreases visibility and maneuverability.
The state’s Move Over law must be obeyed no matter the weather, and was drafted to protect law enforcement and other emergency personnel working roadside.
The law mandates that drivers on a two-lane road must slow to 20-miles-per-hour below the posted speed limit when encountering emergency flashing lights. If the posted speed limit is already 20 mph, you must slow to 5 mph. If you’re on an interstate or some stretch of road with multiple lanes of travel in the same direction, you must vacate the lane closest to the vehicle as soon as it’s safe to do so. If traffic does not permit you to safely vacate the lane, you must slow to 20 mph below the posted speed, unless you are directed otherwise by law enforcement.
Unfortunately, far too many people either aren’t familiar with the law or flagrantly disobey it, putting not only emergency workers at risk, but also stranded motorists and accident victims stuck by the roadside.
The most recent incident started with a single-car crash on I-75. It was reportedly pouring rain, and the 17-year-old driver lost control of the pickup. This prompted a state trooper to respond to the scene. There also was a tow truck driver, a friend of the father of one of the truck’s teen passengers. The father was also there.
The trooper’s cruiser lights were flashing. A 30-year-old in a sport-utility-vehicle didn’t realize traffic had stopped abruptly ahead. He slammed on his brakes, slid into the inside lane and was struck by a 22-year-old driving a pickup. That truck, which was hauling a trailer, swung into the median where the trooper, the tow truck driver and the teen’s father were standing. The trooper and the tow truck driver died at the scene. The teen passenger’s father was declared dead at the hospital.
Those still inside the pickup truck were also hurt.
Several days later, the trooper’s body was being escorted by law enforcement personnel to a nearby funeral home in Lake County when the driver of a car struck a trooper on a motorcycle in the 10-unit procession.
The driver was later cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
To learn more about Florida’s Move Over Law, visit the website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.
More I-75 accident details; funerals Thursday and Friday, May 5, 2014, By Carlos E. Medina, Ocala Star Banner
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