The law is clear -- move to another lane or reduce your speed by 20 miles per hour when emergency or construction vehicles are on the shoulder of a road.
But data shows few drivers follow this law and even fewer of them are facing fines.
“I’ve jumped on the hood of a car twice in my 28-year career,” former Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kim Montes said. “Drivers tend to move over when they see us, but when we’re not there, not many do.”
That happened earlier this year to tow truck driver Greg Simms.
“I was about to swing my leg out of the cab and all of the sudden, there was a crash,” he said. “Had it been any later, I’d have lost my leg.”
Simms had stopped his wrecker to help a broken-down vehicle when a driver crossed the white line and sideswiped his truck.
“It was terrifying; I still think about that moment,” he said.
The driver who hit Simms was later caught and charged, but this is the exception, not the rule.
Data from the state for 2021 shows that only 2,701 citations were issued in Central Florida for failing to move over. And federal data shows a tow truck driver is fatally struck by a vehicle every six days.
“They just don’t get over or slow down,” road ranger Joe Startz said.
Road rangers are usually at the scene of a crash before other emergency workers can arrive. Their large white trucks include collapsible signs, directing drivers to move over. But on the day 9 Investigates joined Startz on his shift along Interstate 4, virtually no drivers moved lanes or slowed down.
“We’re out here too, and we want to make it home safe,” Startz said.