As of January 1, 2012, New York’s Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act (VTL 1144-a) has been broadened to include safety personnel involved in roadside assistance and highway maintenance.
The original NY Move Over Law went into effect January 1, 2011. It mandates that motorists exercise extreme care to avoid an accident when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped or standing on the shoulder of a road with its emergency lights flashing. This means that in a multi-lane highway, a driver must slow down and move over to create a safe distance for the emergency vehicle such as a police car or fire engine. In a single lane road, VTL 1144-a requires motorists to slow down and use caution.
The newly expanded New York Move Over Law now includes tow trucks, HELP trucks and any vehicles being used in the construction or maintenance of roadways.
Last year, NY troopers gave out 16,000 tickets for violating VTL 1144-a.
Motorists violating the amended New York Move Over Law face a fine of up to $275 plus court surcharge and a possible jail sentence of up to 15 days. Violators may also have three points tacked onto their driving record.
Last November, David Baldi of Hamburg, NY was killed while working in a construction crew on I-190. Additional roadside deaths that have occurred and that helped bring on the amended NY Move Over Law include a tow truck operator tending to a disabled vehicle on the New York State Thruway.
New York Department of Transportation officials report that an average of 100 work zones are set up each day on New York highways. Nearly one hundred accidents occurred in these types of construction areas last year.
Tow truck operators and highway construction workers have almost unanimously voiced their support for the new NY Move Over Law. Tow truck drivers express concern about having to watch their backs while working and that oftentimes it can be quite frightening on the road.