Move Over Law in New York

Did You Get a Ticket for Violating the Move Over Law?

You have likely driven by emergency and hazard response vehicles several times, but how exactly did you approach these vehicles? Did you slow down, move over one lane or continue driving the same speed as you passed by?

These questions are important to ask yourself, as you could get a ticket for violating New York’s Move Over Law. Typically, many drivers assume they must only move over and slow down for firetrucks, ambulances and police cars that display flashing lights. But contrary to popular belief, drivers must exercise extra caution when approaching certain other vehicles, too. As such, New York’s Move Over Law aims to reduce the risks to certain vulnerable workers through strict enforcement and imposing stiff penalties for those who violate it.

If you were cited for violating the Move Over Law in Rockland County, call a traffic ticket lawyer at the Law Office of Brian Berkowitz at (845) 638-9200 or contact me online right away.

What Is the Move Over Law in NY?

New York’s Move Over Law is described under VTL 1144-A (a), which states that drivers must use due care to avoid a collision when approaching an emergency or hazard vehicle that displays red or any combination of red, white or blue emergency lighting in addition to flashing amber lighting, or blue or green lighting. The Move Over Law does not only apply to the right shoulder but both sides of the road.

State officials urge drivers to check the surrounding traffic, slow down and move over as soon as they see lights, vests or reflectors. Responsible driving is the key to better avoiding a traffic ticket and worse, injuring or killing someone.

Emergency and hazard vehicles include:

  • Police vehicles
  • Fire trucks
  • Ambulances
  • Tow trucks
  • Construction vehicles
  • Maintenance vehicles (i.e. garbage trucks)

The purpose of the Move Over Law is to help make the roads safer for at-risk workers like EMTs, firefighters, police officers, tow truck drivers, highway workers, utility workers, and the like, therefore the penalties for violating the Move Over Law can be unforgiving. New York takes this legislation seriously because injuries and fatalities among these workers are preventable.

For instance, traffic-related incidents, including vehicle crashes, are one of the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers, according to the US Secretary of Transportation. In 2017, 47 officers were killed in traffic-related incidents, 9 of which were struck and killed outside their vehicles. In addition, from 2007 to 2017, 39% of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were lost in traffic-related incidents, while many have been seriously injured.

As such, the legal consequences of a Move Over Law violation include:

  • Fines
  • Surcharges
  • Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee
  • Added driving points to your record (2 points, typically)
  • Increased insurance premiums

Impacts of “Operation Hardhat”

In 2019, Governor Cuomo announced an initiative between State Police, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority to “crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving when encountering construction, maintenance and emergency operations along state highways.” This initiative is called Operation Hardhat.

To accomplish this goal, State Troopers will patrol active highway work zones and occupy work zones, dressed as highway maintenance workers, to identify motorists who:

  • Disobey flagging personnel
  • Speed through work zones
  • Violate the state's Move Over Law

As a result of Operation Hardhat, the NY State Police issued 1,222 tickets as of August 2020, 68 of which include Move Over violations. This number exceeds the 1,048 tickets, including 72 Move Over tickets, issued in 2019 altogether. As such, it’s fair to assert that your chances of getting a Move Over Law ticket can increase under this initiative, therefore you must be vigilant while driving at all times. It’s better to take the extra time to move over and slow down when approaching emergency and hazard vehicles than suffer a traffic ticket or collision.

Put 20 Years of Experience in Your Corner

Did you get a ticket? I am here to fight it. I have helped people in your position put their traffic tickets behind them and move forward in their lives, and will go the extra mile to help you achieve the same favorable outcome. To get started, I urge you to contact my office at (845) 638-9200 to arrange a free consultation and learn about your options.

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