New York's "Move Over Law"

On January 1, 2012, New York’s “Move Over” law, went into effect and has been more aggressively enforced in the years that have passed since its enactment. Essentially, the law (VTL §1144-a) requires motorists passing stopped emergency vehicles to take extra precautions to avoid collisions including moving their vehicles to an adjoining lane further away from the stopped emergency vehicle. VTL §1144-a states:

“(a) Every operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency vehicle which is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of such highway and such authorized emergency vehicle is displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights ….

For operators of motor vehicles on parkways or controlled access highways, such due care shall include, but not be limited to, moving from a lane which contains or is immediately adjacent to the shoulder where such authorized emergency vehicle displaying one or more red or combination red, blue and white lights or any combination …is parked, stopped or standing to another lane…”

Amended Move Over Law

The law has since been amended to include emergency vehicles displaying amber-colored lights, such as tow trucks. During the first year of the laws existence, law enforcement agencies across New York issued over 16,000 tickets for violation of the law. If you find yourself ticketed for a violation of the ‘move over’ law, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney to assist you with the ticket to ensure the best possible resolution of the ticket.

While everybody supports measures aimed at providing further safety protections for police officers and first responders, the consequences of being convicted of this citation can have serious effects on your driver’s license. A conviction of the ‘move over’ law is a moving violation carrying a fine of $250-$400, up to 30 days in jail, and three points on your driving record. In defending a motorist charged with an alleged violation of the law, there are several important details that an experienced lawyer will examine as possible defenses against the ticket. Foremost, the ‘move over’ law itself only applies in certain circumstances. The law itself over covers “authorized emergency vehicles” that are stopped, parked or standing on the roadway or shoulder. As a result, the law does not apply to ordinary disabled vehicles. Second, not all roadways are covered by the law. Only two types of roadways are specified in the law, “controlled access highways” and “parkways.” Accordingly, other roadways (including local roadways) are not covered by the statute. These restrictions are logical in that local roadways often times do not have alternative lanes that a motorist could move their vehicle into when passing an emergency vehicle.

A Good Lawyer Can Help You

good lawyer TGLAside from the language of the law itself, there are several possible defenses that your attorney can raise in defending you. First, New York law prohibits a driver from moving over or changing lanes unless he or she first finds it safe to do so. VTL §1128, expressly states this, and can be raised to explain how and why moving over would have been unsafe for you to do. However, the burden of showing that you could not safely change lanes falls upon the motorist and is essential that you have an experienced attorney who can explain and prove this to the court and prosecutor. Second, if moving over would have forced you to cross over a double yellow line, then you cannot have been expected to move over and would have a valid defense to the move over violation. VTL §1110 requires you to obey traffic control devices. These include the laws pertaining to road markings, signs, and road lines. Accordingly, a lawyer familiar with other provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law can possibly raise these laws to defend you against a ‘move over’ law ticket.

Call Us Now

If you are charged with a violation of the ‘move over’ law, or any other traffic violation, contact one of our experienced attorneys at Team Green Lawyers who know the laws and know how to protect your driving privileges when faced with any citation.