Move Over Law Protects Sanitation, Utility Workers

If you come upon a sanitation or utility vehicle on a roadside in Florida, state law requires you to slow down and move over. Effective July 1, sanitation and utility vehicles are covered under the state Move Over Law, which previously applied only to emergency and first-responder vehicles and tow trucks, WFSU reported.

The National Waste & Recycling Association, a trade association, said the change will help prevent pedestrian accidents and fatalities involving waste and recycling workers. Being hit by a vehicle is a leading cause of death for waste and recycling employees, the organization says.

The NW&RA has been working to have similar legislation passed in other states.

The organization thanked state Representative Holly Raschein, who co-sponsored the bill. She said the law improves safety for workers.

Other groups are also happy with Florida’s inclusion of sanitation and utility workers in the Move Over Law. Donny Fugate, vice president of operations for CHELCO, a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative, told WTVY that the law will help protect workers who must deal with high voltages and difficult conditions.

Under the law, motorists on multi-lane roads must slow down and move over safely as soon as they approach a protected vehicle. Motorists who cannot change lanes safely or are on a two-lane road are supposed to drop their speed to 20 mph below the speed limit.

If the speed limit is 20 mph or less, drivers must slow down to 5 mph or less. Violators can receive a ticket, a fine and points on their license.

The Florida Highway Patrol said it plans to alert and educate drivers about the change. Patrol spokesperson Nancy Rasmussen said the agency will include sanitation and utility vehicles in its messages about the Move Over Law.