Wrecker driver's death puts focus on Fla. Move Over law

By Ashley Harding, General assignment reporter, aharding@wjxt.com
Chris Robbins, Evening newscast producer, crobbins@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:27:33 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 28 2014 11:28:47 PM EDT

VIDEO: Focusing on Florida's "Move Over" law after 41-year-old Kit Tappen was hit and killed Saturday morning on the interstate. Tappen was employed by Complete Collision in St. Augustine and was helping a broken down car when he was hit by a tractor trailer.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

As a St. Augustine family prepares to lay a father of three to rest, his death is putting the focus on Florida's Move Over law.

Kit Tappen, 41, was an employee for Complete Collision. Early Saturday morning, he was hit by a tractor-trailer while trying to help a driver whose car had broken down on Interstate 95 near International Golf Parkway in St. Johns County.

Troopers said a tractor-trailer driven by Mason Bryant, 25, was traveling in the outside lane of I-95.

The right-rear tandem tires of the tractor-trailer went into the emergency lane and hit Tappen, according to FHP.

RELATED: Wrecker driver killed helping driver

"He loved his family always talking about his kids," said Mohammad Chatila, Tappen's boss at Complete Collision.

Tappen's death has Chatila thinking about safety on the job.

"They move over for police officers sometimes, the majority of the time they do because they have red and blue lights, so I guess our amber lights, they don't help us that much," Chatila said.

Under Florida's Move Over law, a tow truck with it's light flashing is considered an emergency vehicle.

Kit Tappen

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper spent more than 30 years with Florida Highway Patrol. He said all too often, people don't move over and tragedies happen.

"People get injured... or even killed taking care of someone or something on the side of the road. They're hoping that other people approaching are paying attention. That's not always the case," Leeper said.

Here's how the law works:
--On a two-lane roadway, slow to a speed 20 miles per hour less than the posted limit.
--On a two-lane road, slow down to 5 miles per hour if the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.
--If you're driving on a road or highway with several lanes going in the same direction, you must move out of the lane closest to the emergency or law enforcement vehicle when you safely can.
--If you aren't able to, slow down to a speed 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.

Leeper said too many times drivers aren't aware of the rules and they need to pay attention.

"Slow down. Pay attention to what you're doing," said Leeper. "Drive through those areas at a reasonable speed, making sure you're staying in your lane of traffic,"

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