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“I got a ticket for not ‘moving over.’ What is this and what does it mean?”

There you are, driving down the interstate on a sunny spring day, listening to your tunes and sipping your coffee. Up ahead you see some police action. You think ‘glad they didn’t get me’ as you drive by. The next thing you know you’re being pulled over, but for what you don’t know. The police officer tells you that he pulled you over for “failure to yield to an emergency vehicle,” and you are perplexed because

you pulled directly over when he came behind you. As the officer hand you the ticket you again ask “but how didn’t I yield to you,” to which he replies “you didn’t ‘move over.” “Huh, what, move over for what I didn’t to anything wrong…” you reply, to which he says dismissively with a shrug as he walks away “tell it to the judge.” You have just been cited for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle under NY VTL 1144-A.

Background to the Statute

Prior to 2011 there was no duty for a motorist to move over and away from the shoulder when there were emergency vehicles on the shoulder with their emergency lights on. That all changed on January 1, 2011 when New York State enacted the “Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act,” named in memory of 2 police officers killed in the line of duty when they were struck by a vehicle on roadways while conducting official business.

The Statute

The Move Over law creates and affirmative duty for a motorist to “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…is displaying  one or more red or combination red and white lights…” The law further requires that when motorists are on a parkway or controlled access highway (i.e., interstates), that they move over “from a lane which contains or is immediately adjacent to the shoulder  where  such authorized emergency vehicle…is parked, stopped or standing to another lane…”

Being found guilty of violating NY VTL 1144-A is a 3 point violation and could trigger an insurance increase. However, there are several affirmative defenses written into the statute which are available to a motorist in defending against the charges. Much more information about the Move Over law as well as the affirmative defenses can be found on our web site here.

What To Do

If you find yourself on the wrong end of the law against a Move Over law ticket, speeding ticket, or any other moving violation or automobile crime, before you do anything pick up the phone and give our lawyers at 1-877-99-No-Tix (1-877-996-6849) a call. The consultation is free, does not obligate you to anything, and if you were to retain our office in most cases we offer a money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain when you retain our office. A lawyer is always available to speak with you during business hours, and qualified operators are on staff 24 / 7 to answer all of your immediate questions, and after hour calls are always returned by an attorney the next business day or sooner. So don’t delay call now!