Crime Watch

Crime Watch: When you see a stopped police car, move over or slow down


Special to The Miami Herald

This past week I had to drive to Tampa, and once again, people just don’t pay attention when driving especially on Alligator Alley. I saw people with no seat belts on, people doing 80 or 90 mph. And we have legislation to change the speed limit to 80? Then they will do 100 for sure!

But what really got me on this trip seeing people drive so close to emergency vehicles, police and highway patrol cars without a care for safety. And what can I say about parents that don’t have their child buckled up or the parent not wearing a seat belt? Folks, Florida's primary enforcement safety-belt law took effect in 2009, so let’s get with the program. The life you save will be yours or your child’s.

So once again I hope to educate our readers on Florida’s most important “Move Over” law, for the safety of all first responders.

The law requires drivers to slow down or change lanes when an emergency vehicle is parked on the side of the road.

Here is a summary, courtesy of the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

• If you are driving on a road with multiple lanes going in the same direction, and you approach an emergency vehicle parked along the roadway, you must move out of the lane closest to that vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so.

• If you are unable to move over safely, or if you are on a road with only one lane in each direction, you must slow down to a speed 20 mph below the speed limit, unless a law-enforcement officer tells you otherwise. If the speed limit is 20 mph, you must slow down to 5 mph.

• If you don't move over, the penalty is about $149, depending on the county, and three points on your license.

Please readers, forward this to everyone you know the life you save may be of someone that is trying to save a life themselves.

Folks I know that driving in Miami-Dade or anywhere can be a nightmare sometimes, but we really need to take into account that cars can kill people. I hold my breathe everyday on the Palmetto due to the “almost” incidents that occur in front of me. So please: take it slow and be aware of what is happening around you and please let’s be courteous on the road.

I want to share with you a place I visited and had dinner while in Tampa. The name of the place was Boston Pizza Restaurant where the manager Philip Waite was one of the most exceptional people I have met. His demeanor towards his employees was superlative and towards the customers as well. We don’t often go to places where you see such care and most of the times you feel sorry for the employees. But I must say I was extremely impressed with the whole operation and felt I just had to share this with you.

Tomorrow some of us are off for Presidents Day. Please be safe in whatever you do.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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