Earlier this year, two New York State Police troopers and a tow truck driver were struck and injured by a suspected drunk driver who failed to "move over." Since its inception in 2011, New York's "Move Over" law - aimed at protecting law enforcement and emergency personnel stopped along roadways - has led to the issuing of more than 15,000 tickets annually.
The law requires that when motorists see lights - including flashing lights and flares - vests or reflectors while driving on roads and highways, they must slow down, drive carefully and safely move to the next lane. The law applies to an assortment of vehicles, and not just police vehicles.
Law applies to these vehicles, workers
The list of vehicles for which the "Move Over" law applies toward includes:
- Law enforcement vehicles
- Fire trucks
- Construction and maintenance vehicles
- Tow trucks
In 2016, New York law enforcement conducted a five-day campaign in which it gave special attention to the "Move Over" law. It marked the same year that the law was expanded to include volunteer firefighter and ambulance workers. During that span, the state issued 230 tickets for violating the law. If that violation rate remained consistent through the year, that would lead to nearly 16,800 tickets issued annually.
The accident that injured the two troopers and tow truck driver occurred on Interstate 90 near Albany during the early morning hours. The investigating troopers had closed the left lane of the three-lane highway, and had placed flares along the scene. The suspected drunk driver failed to move to the right lane and struck the highway patrol vehicle. The driver's car continued, and struck both troopers and the tow truck driver who were standing at the scene.
Please stay alert and pay attention when driving near emergency scenes. React calmly to such situations, because when you do, you just may be saving people's lives.