FORT MYERS, Fla. — When you pull over to the side of the road, you want to feel safe. If you have to stop on the shoulder of a highway it can be pretty nerve-wracking when people don’t move a lane over. A new law going into effect at the start of the new year aims to change that.
"When you see police on the side of the road, people stopped, they don't move over," said Cape Coral driver Jameson Connors.
Others, like Kara Ohlsen, pointed out a lack of awareness.
“There are a lot of people that don't even know that you're supposed to move over when there's an emergency in general – ambulance, firetruck, police car – with their lights on," she explained.
David Keith, also from Cape Coral, shared his frightening experience.
“I was trying to change a flat tire and didn’t have enough room in the emergency lane," Keith said. "People seemed to slow down a little bit, but some people just don’t care and will come by doing 90 miles per hour without a second thought.”
Florida currently requires drivers to safely move over a lane if there are stopped law enforcement or emergency vehicles with displayed warning lights.
Cape Coral Police Officer Mercedes Phillips shed light on the change Florida lawmakers are putting into effect.
“But now, they realized it needed to be expanded to people who, you know, could just be changing a tire on the side of the road," Phillips said.
Phillips said starting January 1 drivers will have to move over for any vehicle stopped with their warning lights on, an emergency flare or signage displayed or anytime there is a vehicle stopped with people visibly present.
If it’s not possible to change lanes, drivers must reduce their speed by 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.
Enforcement of the law will involve police giving tickets to drivers who don’t “move over."