New York law requires drivers to move over for any emergency vehicle with flashing lights. For instance on a 3-lane highway with a shoulder, if there is an emergency vehicle on the shoulder, you must slow down and move out of the right lane into the center lane. If the emergency vehicle is moving, drivers are required to yield to the emergency vehicle.
If you fail to move over or yield, then you may get a ticket for violating New York’s move over law. However, it is not always so clear-cut. It may have been dangerous for you to move over or slow down at the time. In such situations, moving over can cause another accident and is not illegal.
While you may have gotten a ticket, you may be in the right. If that is the case, you should not have to pay for doing what was the safest option.
Contact Weiss & Associates, PC to Help Fight Your Ticket
If you feel that you acted within the law and did nothing to deserve a move over law ticket, Weiss & Associates, PC can help you fight it. We can present your side of the case and have a good chance of getting the ticket overturned. If you received a Move Over Law ticket anywhere in the state of New York, call us at 212-683-7373 or email us for a free consultation.
When Did The New York Move Over Law (NY VTL 1144-A) Go Into Effect?
As of November 2016, New York’s “Move Over Law” (VTL 1144-A (a)) has required drivers of motor vehicles to slow down and move over to allow room for a variety of emergency and hazard response vehicles. While the law has been in place for over 2 years, many New Yorkers are not aware of the full requirements of the regulation or the consequences for failing to abide by the law.
What is the New York State Move Over Law?
The full text of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Code 1144-A (a) may seem wordy and complex, but the premise is actually fairly simple:
Operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle. (a) Every operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency vehicle that is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of a highway and such authorized emergency vehicle is displaying … one or more red, blue or white or any combination of red and white lights or blue or combination blue and red or combination blue, 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 vehicle … is parked, stopped or standing to another lane … (NY Veh & Traf L § 1144-A (2015))
The law requires that any driver approaching a stopped emergency vehicle (§ 1144-A (b) also outlines the same regulation regarding vehicles with yellow or yellow and white lights, such as tow trucks) must move over into a lane away from the emergency vehicle. However, the law also states that the movement must comply with other vehicle and traffic laws, specifically the “rules of the road” as defined in NY VTL 1127, Title VII, Article 25. For instance, a driver in compliance with 1144-A may not:
- drive on the wrong side of the road or cross double yellow lines, unless the movement is absolutely necessary for compliance with 1144-A and the driver yields to motorists traveling the proper direction;
- run a red light or stop sign;
- proceed without properly yielding the right of way to other motorists or pedestrians;
- increase or decrease speed to an unlawful or unsafe level;
- create a potentially unsafe obstruction or hazard on or near the motorway.
While the Move Over Law in NY may seem dense and unnecessary, it does a great deal to protect the equipment and lives of emergency responders (police officers, ambulance workers, firefighters, tow truck operators, etc.), as well as your own vehicle and its occupants from a harmful, costly, or even fatal collision.
If you see flashing lights of any color while driving, slow down, assess the situation and determine the safest way to proceed (switching lanes, slowing further, yielding to authorized emergency and hazard responders, etc.). Do not recklessly cut into another lane, slam on your brakes, or continue full speed in the lane adjacent to the stopped emergency vehicle.
What Are the Fines and Penalties for Violating New York’s Move Over Law?
Violating NY VTL 1144-A, generally referred to by police officers and in court as “failure to move over for emergency and hazard vehicles,” can have quite a few consequences that can be costly. Below are some of the fines and penalties you may face if found in violation of the Move Over Law.
Violating the Move Over law is considered a moving violation and can result in fines of up to $150 plus a NYS surcharge. In many cases, drivers ticketed for failing to move over face additional tickets more specific to their failure to comply. Some common tickets received with a violation of the Move Over law include:
- Speeding – 3-11 points
- reckless driving – 5 points and a criminal charge
- improper passing and/or unsafe lane change – 3 points
- failure to yield the right of way – 3 points
- Failure to comply with a lawful order – 2 points
You may also wind up paying fines and getting points for each additional ticket along with the move over ticket.
A conviction to the Move Over law carries three points on your driver’s license.
Additional moving violation charges not only carry points, but they also add to the fines and fees a driver must pay to continue driving.
A driver who receives 6 or more points on their license within 18 months incurs a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.
Specifically, if you receive 6 points on your driver record for violations committed during a period of 18 months, the assessment fee is $300. This amount can be paid over 3 years in 3 equal installments, or all at once. If you receive more than 6 points on your driver record during a period of 18 months, the 3-year, annual assessment is $25 for each point in addition to the original six points for a total of $75. (New York Department of Motor Vehicles)
In addition to fees and points, you will also face surcharges that go along with a moving violation. A surcharge covers the processing fees for your ticket and is typically $88 or $93.
If you are convicted of a move over violation plus one other moving violation within 36 months, you can see an increase in your insurance premiums. According to a Forbes report, insurance premiums increase by 24% on average moving violations. That increase will follow you for 36 months, even with no additional violations.
Avoiding a Failure to Move Over Ticket
At times, slowing down and moving over as you approach an authorized emergency or hazard vehicle stopped on a motorway may seem unnecessary, but there is more at stake than the status of your license and your wallet’s happiness. The presence of a stopped emergency or hazard vehicle usually means that something is wrong, and continuing at full speed or not allowing space for emergency responders to move and operate not only jeopardizes their safety and the safety of other pedestrians and motorists, but it also creates risks for you and the other occupants of your vehicle. The coast may look clear, but if you see flashing emergency or hazard lights, slow down, assess the situation, and determine the safest, lawful course of action to proceed.
What Are Common Defenses of New York’s Move Over Law
If you are facing a Move Over Law charge in New York, a knowledgeable and reliable attorney can often help you build a solid defense in court. For instance, an experienced attorney can help you explain to a judge why you believed moving over for a stopped emergency or hazard vehicle was unsafe to you or to others.
If the situation allowed for a safe move that you failed to make, your attorney may defend your case by arguing that you did not have enough time to safely assess and execute the move, or that moving would have forced you to commit some other infraction defined by the state’s Vehicle and Traffic Laws.
While these defenses may sound simple enough for you to use alone in court, it is always best to consult with an experienced New York State traffic ticket attorney. The right attorney possesses a great understanding of New York traffic laws and can help you build a solid defense based on the legal framework. No attorney can guarantee your success in beating a ticket, but going to court with a lawyer will generally help to lessen the penalties you face, and provide you with a better understanding of the court’s rulings.
Since 1991, the traffic lawyers at Weiss & Associates, PC, have helped over 100,000 motorists in court. Our lawyers specialize in traffic law across New York State, and we make your traffic issue as easy as possible. For more information about New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1144-A, or to discuss your defense options, contact us today for a free consultation!
New York Move Over Law Tickets and Out-of-State Drivers
Even if you are an out-of-state driver, if you receive a Move Over ticket, there may be several consequences in addition to paying the fine. Any moving violation will go on your New York state driving record, even if you are not a resident. The state creates an ID number for you and makes a record of any violations or points you receive.
If you get too many points on your NY ID number, then your privilege to drive in New York may be suspended. Other states will honor that suspension, including your home state. Some home states will add points to your driver’s license as well, although it may not be as many as you receive in New York. There are various different rules regarding the interplay between a New York conviction and other states. You can contact Weiss & Associates, PC for more information on the interplay. We have researched this issue extensively and have a proprietary database setting forth how a New York traffic violation conviction will impact you in your home state.
When out-of-state drivers get a moving violation, many choose to just pay the ticket, thinking that they avoid the hassle of fighting it. However, as you can see, the violation can often follow you around, even back to your home state. If you are given a Move Over ticket unjustly, it is often worth contesting it.
Move Over Law vs. Workzone Traffic Violations
The Move Over law is sometimes confused with Operation Hard Hat, an initiative targeting work zone traffic violations. It is important that motorists also use caution when passing construction crews who are working on or near the road.
In a construction zone, drivers are required to slow down and move over if it is safe to do so. Drivers can also get a ticket for distracted driving, such as if they are on their phone. Fines are doubled in a construction zone and many courts will treat this type of offense harsher than a basic speeding ticket.
Common Move Over Law Questions
Below are some of the most common questions we get about New York’s Move Over Law.
Do I have to move over if the vehicle does not have emergency lights on?
If the emergency vehicle does not have any lights on, then you are not required to move over. However, you should still slow down and move over if it is safe to do so. It is always best to exercise caution when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road (and avoid needing to defend yourself in court).
What vehicles do I have to move over for?
The Move Over law requires you to move over for all emergency and hazard vehicles. Some examples of these types of vehicles include:
- Police vehicles
- Fire trucks
- Construction vehicles
- Tow trucks
- Maintenance vehicles
Is the New York Move Over Law the same as failing to yield to an emergency vehicle?
While moving over for and yielding to emergency vehicles are similar laws, they two are slightly different and thus receive different violations. If you do no’t yield to an emergency vehicle, you are in violation of NYS VTL 1144-a, while if you fail to move over when an emergency vehicle is pulled over with flashing lights, you are in violation of NYS VTL 1144-a(a).
Failure to yield is considered a more serious infraction. It comes with a higher fine of $275 (although both carry three points).
Did You Receive a Move Over Law Violation? We Can Help!
Getting a Move Over Law ticket can be frustrating, especially if you feel you made the safest choice in a stressful situation. If you did the right thing, you don’t deserve the fine and other consequences that go along with a Move Over violation. You can fight it, but you stand a better chance of winning with the help of professionals.
At Weiss and Associates, PC, we are experienced with helping New York residents manage moving violations. We can help you present your case in a logical way before the court. If you’d like our help, call (212-683-7373) or email us today for a free consultation!