ALBANY — The “Move Over” traffic safety law will be expanded on New Year’s Day to include tow truck operators and other authorized personnel involved in roadside assistance or highway maintenance.
The law requires that, when possible, motorists must change lanes when they approach an incident where there is a vehicle with flashing red or amber lights. The new law adds the amber lights. When it is not possible to move over, or there is only one lane, drivers must slow down.
The amendment to the state Vehicle and Traffic Law takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.
“Extension of the Move Over law to include maintenance crews and tow truck operators is critical,” Thomas J. Madison Jr., acting executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, said. “This law gives Troop T of the State Police another enforcement tool to promote the number one priority of the Thruway Authority — the safety of our customers and the people who serve them.”
“Drivers must be aware that the Move Over Law has been expanded to cover tow truck operators as well as construction and maintenance crews — in addition to laws already in place requiring them to move over for police who’ve pulled over motorists,” Joan McDonald, commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation, said.
“The men and women who work on our highways perform essential, often life saving, services,” New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said. “It’s always been common sense to move over to give them room to do their jobs, and now it’s the law.”
“Having been involved in two roadside accidents — one of them causing serious injury to a customer — I can attest to the need for this law,” Tom Brennan of T & T of N.Y. in Cohoes, president-elect of the Empire State Towing and Recovery Association, said. “I am grateful that New York’s ‘Move Over’ law has been expanded to cover drivers of tow trucks and other hazard vehicles.”
Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, the Move Over law is expanded to cover “hazard vehicles,” such as tow trucks, HELP trucks, highway maintenance trucks and any other vehicle being used in the construction or maintenance of roadways.
Drivers who violate the Move Over law could be fined up to $275, plus a court surcharge of $85, and sentenced to up to 15 days in jail. The driver also could be assessed three points on their driving record.
Roadside deaths in recent years have included New York State Troopers in Westchester County and Erie County, an Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputy in Syracuse, and a man working on a lane striping crew in Erie County.
In November 2011, a tow truck operator was struck and killed while tending to a disabled vehicle on the New York State Thruway near Syracuse.