New York’s Move-Over Law

We have all seen emergency vehicles with flashing lights on the side of the road. Whether they are assisting stranded motorists, issuing a traffic citation or simply alerting passing motorists to potential hazards, flashing lights are sure to get a driver's attention. What motorists sometimes fail to realize is that when emergency vehicles are present, emergency personnel are also nearby. Drivers can easily become distracted, and not see police or paramedics performing their duties.

After two New York law enforcement officers were struck and killed by passing vehicles, the Ambrose-Searles move-over law was enacted. The law, which went into effect in January of 2011, requires motorists to move to a different lane when they are approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle, such as a police car, fire truck or ambulance. When it is not possible to move-over or there is only one lane, drivers must slow down. Drivers could face a fine of $275, in addition to being assessed two points on their license for this traffic violation.

Beginning in 2012, the law will also apply to motorists who are approaching hazard vehicles. Hazard vehicles include any tow trucks, snow plows or any other vehicles that are being used in the construction or maintenance of roadways. The law is designed to protect emergency personnel and construction workers who are at risk while performing their job functions.

Motorists approaching accident scenes or work zones may have little time to make a judgment call about whether or not they are able to move over. If the driver is then stopped by police, it may be difficult to prove the fact that he or she could not safely move to a different lane.

If you have received a ticket for this or any other New York traffic violation, speak to an experienced attorney to understand your options. It is important to know how your driving privileges may be affected by the tickets you acquire. If you have too many violations during a specific period of time, you may lose your license.