Earlier last month, three utility workers were killed in a Florida car accident while they were working along the edge of the road. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the three men were working in a roadside ditch while attempting to restore power at the time of the crash.
Evidently, shortly before seven in the evening, a truck was traveling northbound on a state highway while towing a trailer. The truck inexplicably left the roadway and crashed into the three utility workers. After the accident, the driver fled the scene but was later located by police. Based on the circumstances of the crash, police believe that the driver may have been intoxicated at the time. The driver was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, and felony vehicular homicide, among other offenses.
Florida’s “Move Over” Law
Accidents such as the one discussed above were the impetus for the passage of a series of laws across the country, casually referred to as “Move Over” laws. Indeed, hundreds of roadside workers lose their lives each year in accidents in Florida and nationwide, which became a major concern for lawmakers. While each state has a different move over law, the idea behind each state’s move over law is to protect roadside workers from the dangers presented by passing motorists.
Florida’s move over law is contained in Florida Statute section 316.126, and covers emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, utility vehicles, and wreckers. The law requires that motorists “vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle” when there are two or more lanes of travel in the direction of the emergency vehicle. When an emergency vehicle is parked along a single lane road, motorists must slow down to a speed that is 20 miles per hour slower than the speed limit. If the speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour, a motorist must pass the emergency vehicle going no faster than five miles per hour.
A motorist’s failure to follow Florida’s move over law may result in a non-criminal infraction. Also, it may be the basis for liability in a Florida personal injury lawsuit. In essence, the law allows for injury victims to more easily prove negligence in Florida roadside accident cases because by passing the statute lawmakers have essentially codified the expected standard of conduct when emergency workers are parked on the roadside. Thus, under the doctrine of negligence per se, a Florida personal injury plaintiff can establish a defendant’s breach of a duty by merely showing that they failed to comply with the state’s move over law.
Have You Been Injured in a Roadside Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida roadside accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Cecere Santana have decades of experience aggressively representing Florida injury victims in a wide range of cases, including all types of Florida car accident claims. To learn more about how we can help you recover for the injuries you have sustained, call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation today.
See Additional Blog Posts:
In Drunk Driving Accidents, Bar May Also be Responsible, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, October 9, 2018.
The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Protection in Florida, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, published October 1, 2018