New York drivers are getting the message. Since the implementation of the state’s move over law five years ago, the number of drivers ticketed for violations has plummeted 99%, according to Press & Sun Bulletin. It’s good news for emergency and construction workers and now the law is continuing to expand and strengthen.
Also known as the Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act, the move over law requires drivers to slow down or change lanes for the safety of police and emergency vehicles. Texas was first to implement such a law, putting it into effect in 2003. New York was one of the last states to create a move over law and did not do so until 2011. Police issued almost 14,000 tickets for move over violations in that first year, but by 2014, that number had dropped to just 167.
One reason for the decline in issuances, according to Nassau County Police Officer Linda Ferrara, is that it can be impractical for officers to issue such tickets as they are often already involved with a traffic stop or accident when the offense occurs. However, she said most drivers seem very conscientious of the law and strive to obey it.
“Generally, people try to slow down, but they can’t move over all the time,” she told the Press & Sun Bulletin. “I do know the truckers we see are extremely aware of the law. I work rush hour, so it’s very busy. Truckers are the first ones; they make eye contact with you, and they move over or drop their speed.”
The law has been expanded considerably since it first passed. Originally, drivers were only expected to move over for law enforcement, professional EMS, and fire vehicles. Since then, the law has been expanded to include tow trucks, hazard vehicles, and sanitation trucks, and on July 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a measure requiring drivers to move over for volunteer fire and ambulance workers as well.
New York’s move over law is codified under statute VTL 1144-a. A violation carries a fine of up to $275 and three points on your license. In addition, drivers who are pulled over for move over violations are often ticketed for other offenses like reckless driving, unsafe lane change, speeding, and failure to yield right of way.
If you or a loved one has received a ticket for violating New York’s move over law or any other traffic offense, it is essential that you retain an attorney. Adam H. Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law Firm is an experienced criminal defense and traffic ticket attorney with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email him or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.