Remembering to Drive Safely for the Sake of Emergency Responders

Most people do not know that the third Saturday in October is “National Move Over Day.”  This day was created to highlight the importance of New York’s “Move Over Law,” enacted in 2010 in honor of Trooper Robert Ambrose and Sheriff Deputy Glenn Searles. While in the line of duty, these two men lost their lives when they were struck by an oncoming car as they were stopped on the shoulder of the road on the New York State Thruway.

Recent statistics report 700 crashes in work zones on state roads and bridges, which resulted in 13 fatalities, and over 300 injuries. To better protect stopped emergency vehicles, the law requires that drivers practice due care to avoid hitting first responders standing on the shoulder of a road or emergency vehicles that have emergency lights on, are parked, or stopped.

This “due care” involves reducing speed on all roadways when approaching such vehicles. However, on highways with multiple lanes, drivers are further required to move over one full lane, unless doing so would be unsafe. The law defines emergency vehicles not only as police, fire and ambulance vehicles, but also tow trucks, maintenance vehicles and any other hazard vehicle displaying flashing blue, green, red, white, or amber lights.

“Police, highway workers, tow truck drivers and emergency responders risk their lives every day so that we can drive across New York safely,” says New York Governor Cuomo. “For everyone’s sake, I urge motorists to heed the Move Over Law and use common sense. When you see an emergency or hazard vehicle along the highway, slow down and have the courtesy to move your vehicle over a lane to give those brave men and women room to work.”

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