Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Dave Rodriguez’s motorcycle is on its side in the middle of State Road in Orlando Jan. 26 where it landed after it was struck by a Hyundai Sonata. Rodriguez suffered serious injuries. He was knocked off his motorcycle and then rolled onto the Sonata’s windshield. He ended up in the median of the roadway with a speed limit sign, which was also struck by the Sonata, on top of him. Prior to the crash, Rodriguez’s motorcycle had been located in the emergency lane with its emergency lights activated. The FHP is aggressively enforcing the state’s Move Over law during the month of February to create more awareness of driver responsibility to use caution when emergency workers and law enforcement personnel are working.
TALLAHASSEE – More than 170 law enforcement officers in the United States have died after being struck by motor vehicles since 1999. Thousands have been injured.
To make the roadways safer for everyone, to include law enforcement officers and emergency workers who often work roadside, the Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, Col. David Brierton, announced that FHP is teaming up with two other states to protect emergency workers on roadways.
The Florida Highway Patrol, Alabama Department of Public Safety and Georgia State Patrol are uniting during the month of February to focus enforcement and education efforts on the Move Over Law.
“All too often, a law enforcement officer, paramedic or wrecker operator is seriously injured or killed while they are doing their job because a vehicle drove too close,” said Brierton. “That is why our law includes protection for all first responders, emergency personnel and wrecker operators. Each of them deserves protection under the law.”
During the month-long enforcement operation, law enforcement officers will work together along busy highways and interstates to catch Move Over Law violators and others breaking traffic laws. Law enforcement officers will be out in force, issuing citations for violations, so drivers beware.
The FHP calls attention to a more recent incident in which Trooper Dave Rodriguez was seriously injured when a vehicle crashed into his motorcycle Jan. 26 in Orlando. According to the FHP report, Rodriguez had just completed a traffic stop and getting back on his motorcycle, which was parked in the emergency lane with its emergency lights activated. For some unknown reason, the Hyundai Sonata driven by Brittany Mikus, 20, of Orlando left the roadway, traveling into the emergency lane, where it struck the rear of the motorcycle. Rodriguez rolled onto the hood of Mikus’ car, which then struck a 55 mph speed limit sign.
Rodriguez ended up in the median of the road with the speed limit sign on top of him. The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending. No information was given about Rodriguez’s injuries of his current condition.
July will mark 10 years since Florida’s Move Over Law took effect. The law requires motorists, whenever they observe an authorized emergency vehicle or a wrecker parked roadside with flashing emergency lights, to vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle or wrecker when driving on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle. If such movement cannot be accomplished safely, or when traveling on a two-lane roadway, the driver must slow down to a speed of 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.