New York's "Move Over" highway safety law to expand -- drivers must change lanes, slow down for all disabled vehicles

Mar. 19—Drivers in New York have been required to move into the next lane, or at least slow down, whenever an emergency vehicle is stopped on the highway shoulder for over a decade now. Next week, they'll be required by law to move over for every vehicle stopped on the shoulder, emergency or not.

On March 27, next Wednesday, the expanded "move over" law will go into effect. Drivers will be required by law to move into a lane not directly next to the disabled vehicle, and slow down as best as safely possible, for any disabled vehicle along the roadside.

The penalty for failing to move over is a moving traffic violation, which includes points on the driver's license and fines that increase for repeat offenders.

"If you see that you are approaching a disabled vehicle, slow down and move over as best you can to give them some space," said Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul in a news release announcing the impending change on Tuesday.

In 2010, New York implemented a "move over" law that specified law enforcement vehicles, road maintenance and emergency response vehicles, including tow trucks, firefighting vehicles and ambulances. That helped to prevent collisions with those specific vehicles, but drivers weren't required to move over for every single vehicle along the roadside, and fatalities still occurred.

According to the Governor, between 2016 and 2020, 37 people were killed in roadside accidents near disabled vehicles in New York, and annually about 300 people are struck and killed along highways across the U.S.

In October of last year, Hochul signed the expanded "Move Over" bill, authored by state Senator Lea Webb, D-Binghamton and Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski, D-Haverstraw.

In a statement, Webb said she was happy to see her bill come into effect.

"By requiring that drivers use due care, reduce speed and change lanes when approaching vehicles stopped along our roadways, we can decrease the number of fatalities and serious injuries that occur," she said.