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The Expanded New York Move Over Law: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Terri B. Kalker | Mar 28, 2024 | 0 Comments

In a pivotal move towards enhancing roadside safety, New York State is set to broaden the scope of its Move Over Law, effective Wednesday, March 27 2024. This law, initially enacted in 2010 as the Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act, was named in honor of Trooper Robert W. Ambrose and Sheriff Deputy Glenn M. Searles, whose lives were tragically lost in line-of-duty incidents involving roadside collisions. The 2012 amendment further extended protections to include not just emergency vehicles but also hazard vehicles displaying amber lights, such as tow trucks and maintenance vehicles.
The expansion underscores the law's critical role in safeguarding those on the roads — a necessity highlighted by the distressing statistic that 37 individuals were killed outside of disabled vehicles from 2016 to 2020 in New York alone, with the national toll reaching nearly 300 annually.
Understanding the Move Over Law
New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) 1144-a mandates motorists to exercise due care by moving one full lane away from any stopped authorized emergency or hazard vehicle with flashing lights. This requirement aims to provide a safer environment for emergency responders and workers attending to incidents on the road. However, it's important to note that if moving over a lane would result in unsafe conditions or violate traffic laws, the motorist is not obligated to do so.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
The consequences of failing to adhere to the Move Over Law are significant:
- Points: Violations result in a 2-point penalty on the driver's license. Accumulating 11 points within an 18-month period can lead to suspension.
- Fines: A first offense can incur up to a $150 fine plus a $93 surcharge. Subsequent offenses within 18 months escalate the fine to $300 for the second and $450 for the third.
Clearing the Confusion
It's essential to distinguish the Move Over Law (VTL 1144-a) from the requirement to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle (VTL 1144). While both laws aim to protect those on the roadside, they serve different purposes and carry different penalties. Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle under VTL 1144(a) involves a 3-point penalty and up to a $275 fine.
 As the scope of New York's Move Over Law widens, it underscores the complexity of navigating traffic laws and the potential legal consequences of non-compliance. This expansion is not merely about regulatory adjustments; it's a clarion call for heightened awareness and stricter adherence to laws designed to protect those on the front lines of roadside safety. For motorists, understanding the nuances of such legislation can be daunting, particularly when faced with the stiff penalties associated with infractions.
In this context, the role of a specialized traffic attorney becomes indispensable. Whether you're seeking to understand your rights, contest a ticket, or mitigate the consequences of a violation, legal expertise is crucial. A seasoned traffic attorney can offer guidance through the intricacies of the legal system, provide robust defense strategies, and help navigate the challenges that come with traffic law violations. As the new expansion rolls out for the Move Over Law be sure to stay alert on the road, and pay attention to all of your surroundings. 

About the Author

Terri B. Kalker

I have been successfully defending motorists accused of all types of moving violations. Regardless of the charge, we realize it is important to you and we treat it so. My staff are all professional and at your service as soon as you call. We maintain extended business hours for your convenience. ...


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