Florida Traffic Laws – What Is the Duty of a Driver When an Emergency Vehicle Is En Route to an Existing Emergency?

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Florida traffic laws are unclear as to who has the right-of-way on Florida street, highways and other roadways. Florida law only states who has a duty to yield (give up) the right-of-way. As a general rule of Florida traffic law, every driver, motorcyclist, bicyclist, pedestrian or other operate of a motorized vehicle (i.e., moped) must do everything possible to avoid a crash. Florida drivers and pedestrians have a duty to yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles while said vehicles are en route to an existing emergency. This duty is established under Title XXIII – Motor Vehicles, Chapter 316 – State Uniform Traffic Control, Section 316.126 – Operation of Vehicles and Actions of Pedestrians on Approach of Authorized Emergency Vehicle.
Pursuant to section 316.126, Floria Statutes, both pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles. These vehicles include law enforcement vehicles, fire engines and other emergency vehicles that are using sirens and/or flashing lights. There is a duty to immediately pull over to the close edge of the roadway and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Pedestrians and drivers shall not block intersections in said process.
When driving on interstate highways or other highways with two or more lanes and traveling in the same direction of an emergency vehicle, drivers approaching a parked law enforcement or other parked emergency vehicle with its lights activated, are required to leave the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, as son as it is safe and practicable to do so. This law shall apply unless other directed by a law enforcement officer.
When traveling on a two-lane roadway, drivers approaching a law enforcement or other emergency vehicle are required to reduce their speed to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limited when the posted speed limits is 25 miles per house or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.
Other types of emergency vehicles include wreckers that are displaying their flashing lights and performing a service (i.e., recovery or loading) on a roadside.
If you have been involved in and/or are the victim or a Florida automobile accident, please contact Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. regarding your Florida legal rights. You can also read more Florida Traffic Laws on the Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. website.

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