Albany, NY - January 19, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the expansion of New York’s “Move Over” law protecting volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers is now in effect. The law, which the Governor signed last year, requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane when approaching a vehicle displaying blue or green lights that are operated by volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers involved in a roadside emergency.
“Every day, these firefighters and ambulance workers put their wellbeing on the line to help their neighbors and their communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new law and outreach campaign will offer these brave New Yorkers additional protections that will help ensure they are able to carry out their critically important jobs, while cracking down on avoidable and reckless hazards."
The “Move Over” law requires drivers to use care, slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, construction, maintenance vehicles, and now volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers displaying blue or green lights stopped along the roadway. Since the “Move Over” law took effect in 2011, it has been expanded three times to include a wider range of vehicles, and has resulted in more than 79,000 tickets issued to motorists in violation of the law.
In November 2016, in the wake of two crashes that took the lives of a tow truck driver and a Thruway Authority employee, traffic safety and transportation agencies across New York collaborated on the first-ever “Move Over” enforcement and education campaign.
- State Police issued 230 tickets for a violation of the “Move Over” law during a five-day enforcement period – four times the norm for a typical one-week span.
- A new Public Service Announcement developed by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee which stresses the importance of New York’s “Move Over” law, has already begun playing on cable and broadcast stations across New York.
- Thruway staff, New York State Police Troop T, and tow truck operators engaged in conversations with thousands of customers at service areas along the Thruway and handed out more than 10,000 educational flyers to raise awareness of the “Move Over” law.
- Variable message signs across the state displayed reminders beginning Monday, November 14 at 7 a.m. until Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. and posters were shown inside all 27 Thruway service areas in support of the campaign.
Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting GTSC Chair said, “The ‘Move Over’ law is making New York’s highways safer and saving lives. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s recent expansion of the law, even more of our first responders will be protected while doing their selfless service on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.”
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “The State Police will continue to aggressively enforce the provisions of the Move Over law. All those who work on our highways, from first responders to maintenance workers, put themselves in danger each day to assist the public. We urge motorists to use extreme caution when you see activity on the side of the highway, slow down, and move over.”
Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Bill Finch said, “The people you see working along the side of the road are someone’s family and friends – the ‘Move Over’ law is absolutely critical to ensuring their safety. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we as a state have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of this law to protect everyone who is simply doing their job from harm. I urge motorists to slow down and safely move over for their own safety and the safety of those around them.”
Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll said, “We need to do whatever we can to protect our first responders, and Governor Cuomo’s latest expansion of New York’s ‘Move Over’ law will ensure that even more of the people who are there for us in our time of need will be safe. When you move over for a first responder, you’re doing your part to help save a life by clearing a path to an emergency. I am grateful to the first responders who work to protect us every day.”
For more information on traffic safety in New York, please visit safeny.ny.gov.