Move over or pay up: Officers enforce the move over law in Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Three close calls in just one month are three too many.

In April, a Clearwater, Tarpon Police Department cruiser, and Florida Highway Patrol car were rear ended by drivers who, either weren’t paying attention or were impaired. Thankfully, law enforcement was not injured in any of the incidents.

Thursday, officers from the Clearwater and Largo Police Departments paired up with Pinellas Sheriff’s deputies and Florida Highway Patrol troopers for a move over law saturation on U.S. 19.

The move over law was put into effect in 2002 and requires drivers to move over when they see officers, tow truck drivers or other emergency workers on the side of the road with their lights activated.

Sgt. Dan Negersmith is one of several officers enforcing the move over law in Clearwater on Thursday.

In the event you cannot move over, the law requires you to slow your speed to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit.

Clearwater Sgt. Dan Negersmith believes the roads have gotten more dangerous post COVID-19.

“And I truly believe that people were locked down for a year so they forgot how to act in society,” Sgt. Negersmith said. “We do have rules and laws that are still there. I mean, that’s the only thing that I can come up with. “

Sgt. Negersmith pulled over one woman who was very apologetic, and admitted she was not familiar with the law. She passed a stopped patrol car doing 60 in a 55 mph zone.

“They go by you so fast it doesn’t even matter,” said Sgt. Negersmith. “And if there’s a work zone it’s the same way. They don’t even slow down for the work zones.”

The cost of a move over violation in Pinellas County is $166.00. That fine drops to $155.20 if you take the safe driving course.