Saturday January 12, 2013 I was traveling from Ocala, FL to Orlando to take my 9 year old autistic son to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. I was on the Florida Sunshine SR 528 Turnpike around Tavares, FL.
I was driving within the speed limit and minding my own business when a State Trooper came up behind me with his lights on and pulled me over. He came up to the passenger side of the car where my son was sitting and I ask him why he pulled me over.
The State Trooper, Mr. M.C Transue said that he pulled me over because several miles back, I didn’t observe the “Move Over Law” while he was parked on the side of the road.
I had never heard of this “Move Over Law” and I’m not alone.
According to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, sponsored by the National Safety Commission: 71 percent of Americans have not heard of “Move Over” laws
I did some checking on the internet and found a article posted on February 9, 2012 in the examiner in which a Capt. Warren Fast, who oversees FHP operations in Broward County said “This law seems to be deficient in the minds of the public. A lot of them are not aware what it means… it still remains unknown to many drivers”
This is an admission by a State Law Enforcement Official that many people are not aware of the “Move Over Law” and therefore, the State of Florida has not done enough to make drivers aware of this law.
According to an article published January 12, 2013 in the sun-sentinel.com title, Move Over Law: Public Awareness or Traffic Ticket Trap, Barry Weinberg, a Wilton Manors chiropractor, found that out the hard way when he took his son to John U. Lloyd Beach Park. He and nearly two dozen other state park visitors were snared last week by officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission targeting Move Over Law violators inside the park.
“I felt victimized,” said Weinberg, who claims he followed the law. “It felt like my family and I were victims of a traffic ticket entrapment scheme. I was inside of a park.”
Officials say the special detail was designed to make park visitors aware of the 11-year-old state law that requires drivers to move over or – if they can’t change lanes right away – to slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
The law does not specify that an officer must be in the middle of a traffic stop or emergency, opening the door to police traps, critics complain.
Sgt. Mark Wysocky, spokesman for the FHP stated that there have been more than 8,700 “move over” tickets in 2012 throughout the state of Florida.
Educating drivers about the existence of this law by issuing citations is not right or fair.
There are MANY ways the state of Florida could be informing drivers of the Move Over Law.
1. TV Commercials
2. Post Billboards and signs on the Freeways
3. Information could be handed out to people at Toll Booths
4. Information given to people when they renew their licenses
5. Information given to people when they renew their license plate or when the apply for new ones
I haven’t seen ANY of the above methods used in Florida and that begs the question… why not?
When you add all combined Law enforcement agencies citations issued for violations of the Move Over Law during 2012 the total tickets issued for 2012 is 18,524.
18,524 X an average cost of $140 per citation = $2,593,360 income to various agencies in the State of Florida. With money like that coming in, it’s no wonder there’s little motivation to make the public aware of the Move Over Law.
It appears that Move Over Law citations has become a CASH COW in which motorists are being victimized.
There can be no doubt that since the Mason Dixon Polling & Research indicates that 71 percent of Americans have not heard of Move Over Laws, a large percentage of people who received those citations were unaware of the law and were victimized.
It is clear that the State of Florida is responsible for Citizens being victimized by the following…
1. Failing to adequately inform Florida Drivers of the Move Over Law.
2. Allowing Florida Law enforcement officials to issue citations / fines against drivers who were not aware of the “Move Over Law”.
3. Causing Florida Drivers to be victimized by points being added to drivers records who were issued citations of the “Move Over Law” which in many cases caused undue and unjust increases in driver’s insurance rates.
The admission by Florida State Law Enforcement Official, Capt. Warren Fast proves that the States of Florida is responsible; “This law seems to be deficient in the minds of the public. A lot of them are not aware what it means… it still remains unknown to many drivers”
And, the poll by Mason Dixon Polling proves that 71 percent of Americans have not heard of Move Over laws
Since this law is not known by a majority of drivers, it is unfair and unjust that they be punished with citations, fines and points added to their driver’s license
A Move Over violation SHOULD NOT be equal to a Speeding Ticket with points added to a drivers license. It should be the same as a Seat Belt violation.
A customer service representative from Geico confirmed that rates may be increase due to points being added to a driver’s license. It is not right that auto insurance companies are treating Move Over Law violations the same as they do Speeding Tickets.
Once insurance rates has been increased, they will likely NEVER go back to where they were before receiving a Move Over Law citation.
I have not had a traffic violation in over 30 years. I ALWAYS try to follow the law and I would have observed the “Move Over Law” had I known of it.
An attorney advised me that if I went to court and challenge the citation I received, I couldn’t even use the defense that I was unaware of the Move Over law because “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”. He also advised me that the Judge could find me guilty and increase the fine to as much as $500, order me to pay court cost AND attend a driver’s school.
This ticket cost me $136 and would have cost me 3 points on my driver’s license if I hadn’t elected to take a drivers improvement class for 4 hours. Points on my drivers license might have resulted in my insurance rates to be increased for the rest of my life.
Electing to take a drivers improvement class was the only way I could keep points off my drivers license to keep my insurance rates from being increased. BTW, I found a online class which only cost $29 so that was a lot cheaper than paying an attorney $150 – $300 and take a chance on a judge adding court cost and a higher fine if he happened to be in a bad mood.
It is one thing to knowingly violate a law, but quite another to be fined and punished for a law you didn’t know existed, and a law which most of the public is unaware of.
Drivers are being victimized by…
1. being pulled over by police
2. given a ticket for a law they never heard of
3. victims have no way to defend themselves against the charges
4. have to pay a fine of $136 or more
5. 3 points added to their drivers license
6. insurance rates increased for the rest of the driver’s life.
This is TOTALLY Unfair and Unjust
I have written to the Director of the Highway Patrol, Senator Bill Nelson, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Florida Attorney General, Florida Senate Majority Leader, the Florida Speaker of the House, ACLU, Department of Justice, several Law Firms and I have begun contacting the local / national News media about this matter.
So far Florida Governor Rick Scott (Republican) and the Florida Senate Majority Leader, Ms. Lizbeth Benacquisto (Republican) has not responded.
The fact that I haven’t had a traffic violation in over 30 years proves that I’m a very careful driver but that don’t seem to mean anything to ALL of the people I’ve contacted about this so far. They ALL don’t seem to give a dam.
I guess it should come as no surpise that Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott hasn’t responded or don’t give a dam about people being victimzed by the police. Many people say he is a criminal who belongs in prison due to running a company involved in the nation’s largest Medicare fraud.
Since being elected Governor of Florida by the Tea Party, Rick Scott has slashed funding for public schools, disabled people, the unemployed and gave health-care companies control of Medicaid. Meanwhile, he engaged in illegal voter purging and enacted restrictive voting laws decreasing the days people can vote to make it difficult on people living in larger cities like Miama and Tampa to vote. This caused a 102 year old black lady to wait in line for over 6 hours to vote in the 2012 election. Talk about Heartless!
This legalized “Shake Down” operation will continue with no end in sight until the News media exposes this and law makers does something to rectify this injustice which is being perpetrated upon innocent Americans.
It’s deplorable that a Dad can’t take his son to the Circus or to a Park without being harassed by police. I don’t know how cops who victimize innocent people can look at themselves in the mirror. It’s this type of activity which makes a lot of people dislike and not trust police. This is why many people say “police need to go after REAL criminals”.
I feel that the State of Florida should be CLASS ACTION SUED on behalf of all the people who received tickets who were unaware of this “Move Over Law”. There’s plenty of evidence to support the fact that a majority of drivers are totally unaware of the law.
The lawsuit would be based on the fact that the State of Florida is are punishing and victimizing people unaware of the “Move Over Law” and by issuing citations costing motorists points, Millions of dollars in fines and also causing Insurance Premium payment increases to motorists who have been victimized.
I am therefore seeking Attorneys interested in pursuing a Class Action Lawsuit against the State of Florida.
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