VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — As the new year starts, new laws are going into effect across the state, including an expansion of Florida’s “Move Over” law.

What You Need To Know

  • Starting Jan. 1, Florida drivers must move over for all disabled cars displaying hazard lights, emergency flares or emergency signage

  • House Bill 425, also known as known as the “Move Over” law, previously required drivers to move over for first responders, tow trucks and other emergency vehicles

  • Per the AAA, roadside operations can be especially dangerous for tow truck drivers, who are killed at a rate of “almost 43 deaths per 100,000 workers”

  • Violators of the law could be cited and fined up to $158

Starting Monday, Florida drivers must move over for all disabled vehicles displaying hazard lights, emergency flares or emergency signage. Previously, House Bill 425, also known as the “Move Over” law, required drivers to move a lane over for first responders, tow trucks and other emergency vehicles. Now, the law is expanded to include all disabled vehicles. 

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), “from 2016-2020, an average of nearly 350 people per year were struck and killed while outside a disabled vehicle on the roadside.”

AAA data show that the roadside can be especially deadly for tow truck operators, who "are killed at a rate of almost 43 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to just three for all other industries.”

Eddie Evans, the owner of Crash Recovery & Towing, said he has been struck nine times while performing roadside assistance. 

“People don’t slow down,” he said. “They don’t move over. They just — they don’t care. Their 10 minutes to get home, or 10 minutes to get to a bar, or 10 minutes to spend with their kids, is the 10 minutes that took my life.”

Evans said he started his tow trucking business in Volusia County five years ago. Even though Monday was a holiday, he said he’s on the clock. 

“I haven’t had a day off in five years,” Evans said. “The phone’s constantly ringing day and night. When nobody else is there, I have to work.”

Evans’ towing business is family owned and operated. Evans takes all the calls himself — he said he usually receives about 80 per day.  

Evans said he’s constantly on the go, sometimes responding to up to 40 calls a day for one truck. He said people don’t realize just how dangerous the job is. 

“A tow truck driver dies one in every six days,” Evans said. “On the side of the road, doing their job, doing what they love to do, which is helping people.”

Just six months ago, Evans said a close friend was struck and killed by a vehicle while he was working as a tow operator. 

Evans said despite the law, some cars still don’t move over. On Monday, while Evans helped a disabled vehicle on I-95 near New Smyrna Beach, dozens of cars drove past him without moving over. 

Evans said he hopes the changes to the “Move Over” law are enforced. Right now, he said, cars still aren’t moving over. 

“They can make a ton of laws, but unless they actually enforce it, it’s not going to happen,” Evans said.

Evans said he’s seen people be ticketed but later have their cases dismissed. He said he hopes the law will encourage people to slow down and move over.

“We’re out here on the side of the road making sure you’re getting home safe to your family, but y’all don’t want to make sure we get home safe to ours,” Evans said.

The expanded law took effect Monday. According to officials, violators could be cited with a noncriminal moving violation and fined up to $158 for failing to move over.

Reagan Ryan is a 2023 — 2024 Report for America Corps Member, covering the environment and climate across Central Florida for Spectrum News 13. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.