Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 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. The campaign, which ran from Monday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 18, on the state Thruway, is aimed at protecting law enforcement and emergency services personnel stopped along the roadway.
Since the “Move Over” law took effect in 2011, it has been expanded twice to include a wider range of vehicles, and has resulted in more than 77,000 tickets issued to motorists in violation of the law.
“Every day, our first responders put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and security of our motorists and the roadways they depend on,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this aggressive campaign, our message rings loud and clear – we have zero tolerance for irresponsible driving that puts our police officers, emergency personnel, and other workers in harm’s way. I thank state and local law enforcement for their efforts to enforce the rules of the road and ensure the protection of all New Yorkers.”
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 and maintenance vehicles stopped along the roadway. 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, as well as in all 27 service areas on the New York State Thruway and in 24 DMV offices. It has also been played thousands of times on various social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The PSA is available on YouTube.
During the campaign, motorists took more than three million trips on the Thruway’s 570-mile superhighway. 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. Additionally, 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.
Nov. 14 through 18 “Move Over” Violations:
- Capital Region – 57 tickets
- Central New York – 60 tickets
- Hudson Valley – 96 tickets
- Western New York – 17 tickets
Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting GTSC Chair said, “New York’s first responders put their lives at risk in the service of helping others on our state’s roads. The least we can do as motorists is slow down and move over. This latest campaign on the state’s ‘Move Over’ law exemplifies Governor Cuomo’s commitment to enhancing safety on New York’s roadways for motorists and first responders.”
Bill Finch, Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director said, “It is absolutely essential that we continue to educate motorists about New York’s ‘Move Over’ law – lives depend on it. Crews working on the side of the road are simply doing their jobs and want to go home to their loved ones at the end of the day, just like you. Give them room – slow down and move over if it is safe to do so.”
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “All too often, we have witnessed needless tragedies on our highways involving our emergency responders and highway workers. We urge drivers to slow down and move over when they encounter emergency vehicles and maintenance crews. State Troopers will continue to enforce the Move Over Law and protect those who must work on our highways.”
Tom Brennan, President, Empire State Towing and Recovery Association said, “We thank Governor Cuomo and our traffic safety partners for proactively getting the word out to motorists across New York on the importance of ‘Move Over’ law. We’ve lost two tow truck drivers just in the last month on busy New York State highways, not to mention the other first responders who lost their lives as well. Anything we can do to deter this behavior and get people to move over is a positive step in making sure that tow truck drivers and first responders get home safely.”
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.
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 Oct. 28 while doing his job as a Construction Equipment Operator Heavy for the Thruway Authority in Herkimer County. On Thanksgiving Day, a State Trooper was struck by a driver while investigating an accident on the Sprain Brook Parkway. The driver, 62-year old Xhevalin Lala of Yonkers, was charged with violating the “Move Over” law as well as DWAI and other traffic violations. The Trooper suffered minor injuries.