Albany, NY - November 14, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a week-long campaign to raise awareness of New York’s "Move Over" law, which requires drivers to use due care, slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, construction and maintenance vehicles stopped along the roadway. The law was first established in 2011 to protect law enforcement and emergency services personnel and has since been expanded to include a wider range of emergency and hazard vehicles.
"The work performed by these first responders and workers is critical to the safety of our roadways and the motorists who use them. Every precaution must be taken to reduce the danger already inherent in these hazardous jobs and avoid preventable tragedies," Governor Cuomo said. "With this aggressive statewide campaign, we send a clear message that there is zero tolerance for reckless driving that places these essential workers in harm's way."
The PSA features emergency and hazard responders and will be shown on broadcast and cable stations throughout New York, promoted in all 27 service areas along the New York State Thruway and in 24 DMV offices, and featured on social media platforms. The PSA is available on YouTube here and in TV quality here.
Throughout the week, Thruway staff, State Troopers, and tow truck operators will promote the campaign at service areas by handing out educational flyers and engaging in conversations about the importance of the "Move Over" law with motorists. Variable message signs across the state will display reminders and informational posters will be hung at Thruway service areas in support of the campaign.
Additionally, New York State Police Troop T, the troop that patrols the Thruway, will conduct a "Move Over" enforcement detail on the Thruway from November 14 through 18, targeting motorists who fail to move over for emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and maintenance vehicles.
Recent fatal crashes on roads across New York emphasize the critical importance of the "Move Over" campaign. James Homkey of Canajoharie was fatally injured on October 10 while performing his duties as a tow truck operator, assisting a disabled vehicle on the Thruway in Montgomery County. Ronald C. Deming of Little Falls was fatally injured on October 28 while doing his job as a Construction Equipment Operator Heavy for the Thruway Authority in Herkimer County.
Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Bill Finch said, "The crews working on the Thruway shoulder that you pass going 65 miles per hour are mothers and fathers; sons and daughters; and husbands and wives who want to go home to their loved ones at the end of the day. Let them do their job. Slow down, and move over if it’s safe for you to do so."
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "Highways are one of the most dangerous work environments encountered by law enforcement and others who respond to emergencies and maintain the roadways. State Troopers will vigorously enforce the Move Over Law to protect those who must work in hazardous conditions along our highways and interstates. We urge all motorists to put safety first – slow down and move over when you see emergency vehicles and maintenance crews along the roads."
New York's "Move Over" law was expanded in July 2016 to include volunteer firefighter and ambulance workers, previously applying only to law enforcement, emergency or hazard vehicles. The law now applies to vehicles with flashing blue, green, red, white, or amber lights. The expanded law gives law enforcement more authority to penalize violators who jeopardize the safety of those working along the highway. Motorists must exercise due care on all roads across New York State, and if it is safe to do so, move over one lane to provide adequate space for the vehicles and personnel working on the side of the road. On November 1, 2016, the "Move Over" law was further expanded to include sanitation vehicles such as garbage and recycling trucks.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, "Our workers literally put their lives in danger making sure New York State’s roads and bridges are safe for the traveling public and Governor Cuomo’s “Move Over” law recognizes the danger that everyone who works on the road faces each day. It is up to each motorist, individually, to follow the law by moving over and slowing down, and to drive cautiously in a manner that does not put other people’s lives at risk."
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Terri Egan said, "When approaching stopped first responders, tow trucks or highway maintenance crews, it is common sense to move over to ensure that the people who serve and protect us are safe. They should not have to face potential injury or death for simply doing their jobs. I urge everyone to be aware of and comply with New York’s Move Over Law. Together we can keep our roads safe for all New Yorkers."