The New York State Assembly has a message for those motorists who routinely speed by tow trucks or other highway maintenance trucks situated on the sides of roads or freeways: Move over!
Last year, state legislators passed the "Move Over" Law in response to the growing number of accidents involving motorists and emergency vehicles (police cars, ambulances, fire engines, etc.) stopped on the side of the road.
This vehicle traffic law requires all motorists to either move over one lane or slow down if they come upon an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road.
Interestingly, this law was amended for 2012, such that all Empire State motorists must now move over for emergency vehicles, as well as both maintenance/utility vehicles and tow trucks (i.e., any vehicle with amber lights).
As with the original version of the Move Over Law, the primary justification given by lawmakers for the amendment was the increasing number of roadside collisions.
To illustrate, state officials indicated that there were at least 100 accidents involving passing vehicles and vehicles parked at New York State Department of Transportation work zones in 2011 alone.
"All drivers need to understand that they have a responsibility to keep roads safe," said State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico. "Slowing down and moving over for emergency and hazard vehicles on the highway needs to be one of those responsibilities."
Failure to abide by the Move Over Law can have serious consequences for motorists, including:
- A ticket of up to $275
- A court surcharge of $85
- A jail sentence of up to 15 days
- An assessment of three license penalty points
All indications are that the New York State Police are taking the new law very seriously. In 2011 alone, troopers issued 16,000 citations for violating the Move over Law.
If you have been issued a traffic citation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for further developments from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...
YNN News, "Move over law expanded to include more vehicles" Dec. 27, 2011
Utica Observer-Dispatch, "Our view: Be aware, the 'Move Over' law has expanded" Jan. 2012