New York Move Over Law Takes Effect

On January 1, 2011, New York’s “move over” law or NYS emergency vehicle law went into effect and it took just a few days before my first client called us after being issued a mover over traffic ticket.

The move over law requires motorists on multi-lane highways to slow down and “move over” (when safe to do so) giving safe clearance to approaching stopped emergency vehicles with red flashing lights. If you pass a working emergency vehicle and do not slow down or move over, you can be issued a moving violation which carries 3 points and up to a $150 fine. On single lane roads, motorists must slow down and use caution.

More than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. To lower that deadly toll, almost every state has enacted a “move over” law.

The New York “move over” law was named for Onondaga County Sheriff Deputy Glenn Searles and State Trooper Robert Ambrose, who both lost their lives responding to roadside emergencies. Ambrose and a stopped motorist were tragically killed 9 years ago when his police cruiser was rear-ended by an intoxicated driver in a SUV on the side of the New York Thruway in Yonkers. Searles was struck and killed in 2003 by a mini van.

Just this Monday, a state trooper making an emergency stop on the thruway in New Paltz, was injured when a passing vehicle suffered a blown-out tire and struck the officer. The officer is expected to recover but this incident highlights how important it is for motorists to use caution, slow down and move away from cars stopped on a shoulder.

Update: Some police officers are using this new law to trap motorists. Specifically, they park a police car on the side of the road with lights on (and sometimes without) and wait for motorists to fail to move over. Despite there being no emergency, motorists are then pulled over and issued a “move over” ticket, a 3-point violation.

This law was specifically enacted to protect law enforcement officers who have been killed or injured while responding to roadside emergencies.  It is therefore disconcerting that some police officers would create fake emergencies to ensnare motorists.

Because this is a new law, this particular trap has been very effective catching many motorists in “violation” of the law. If you are such a victim, we recommend pleading not guilty and fighting your move over ticket.

Below is the text for the move over law.

§ 1144-a. Operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle.

Every operator of a motor vehicle shall 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 such authorized emergency vehicle is displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter. 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 emergency vehicle displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter is parked, stopped or standing to another lane, provided that such movement otherwise complies with the requirements of this chapter including, but not limited to, the provisions of sections eleven hundred ten of this title and eleven hundred twenty-eight of this title.

Note: The Move Over Law was amended effective January 1, 2012.  To read about the expanded law, read New York Move Over Law Amended.

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202 Comments. Leave new

  • Received one of these tickets in New York state. I am from Ohio. I did not know about the rule and would not have been able to move over anyway as there were cars in the lane next to me. Since I am not in state I am unable to come back to appear in court. How do I plea? Will they make a plea deal if I write an explanation and include a copy of my driving record (perfect, no violations)?

    Reply
  • My friend lives in Beijing. He was pulled over for this and his situation was similar to those above. He is returning to China in three weeks and cannot appear before the court. He also was cited for driving w out a valid license although he has a Chinese license and showed it. I looked up the rule for driving in ny w a foreign license and it appears that he did not violate that law either. He does not know how he should plea, and if the infractions would impact his Chinese license if he does. Thoughts?

    Reply
  • I, too, am a victim of this offense. I have a California driver’s license and had never driven in New York before – was completely unaware of the law. I saw two police cars with lights on stopped on the right side of a two-lane highway in Sullivan County, NY. I pulled halfway out of my lane and merged back in after passing them, then was immediately pulled over. The officer argued rather haughtily that I should have been aware of this law, as it exists “in most states.” The car I was driving was a rental (I do not own a car, and as such am not paying car insurance for myself). I am wondering what happens in my case – if I plead guilty (which I intend to, as I cannot appear in court myself), what would be the best thing to include in the statement of explanation to not incense the situation? Will the points carry over onto my California driver’s license? And do you think it is worth exploring alternatives?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Mitzi Akaha,

      Adding an explanation to your guilty plea will not do much (in my opinion). You’ll end up with 3 points and the roughly the same $200 fine. Moreover, a NY conviction will be reported to CA and transfer onto your CA license (assuming CA has a similar law). Assuming you have an otherwise clean record in CA, then a conviction to this charge is not a big deal. However, if you have other convictions, then you may want to hire a NY traffic lawyer to fight this case and get you a better result.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hi, I received a ticket for not ‘moving over’ on monday October 12th 2015, on route 87 coming back to CANADA from Plattsburg NY. There is no question they had a ‘move over’ traps that afternoon. I passed not 1 but 2 cars and I was pulled over after. I had no idea about this law, it does not apply in my Province QUEBEC. This is what happend, First ,I saw the police car flashing, I slowed down a bit and made sure to move a bit but not to the next lane. I did not see a need to do that. After a few seconds I saw another police car I did the same thing.

    Then I got pulled over, the officer told me that I had enought time to change lanes but i told him I did not know about this he said we have this in canada too, i said I never heard of that at all…

    I did some research and yes it applies to canada but only 5 provinces have regulations on this. a
    Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland NOT QUEBEC.

    What should I do? if i do plea not guilty, to I meet the judge and the prosecutor alone and how it’s done… and what about the POINTS , do they get transfered to QUEBEC?

    Reply
    • Joseph,

      What should I do? I recommend pleading not guilty.

      if I do plea not guilty, do I meet the judge and the prosecutor. You will initially meet with the prosecutor in most courts.

      Do the points get transfered to QUEBEC? Only if Quebec assigns points for a similar offense (which you state it does not).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Thank you for that answer, because that is exactly what I did, I slowed down and using extreme caution, by that time I may have been able to go to the right lane but I was worrying but the State Troopers car and what was on my left, if he had is flashing lights on I would have immediately reacted and somehow figured out how to get to the right because in mind that is the mental warning sign, thanks again

    Reply
  • Okay, this morning I got the failure to move over lane, what happened there are 2 lanes, up ahead while I was in the left lane there was a police officer car WITH NO LIGHTS and a lawn mower in front, so I slowed up to see as there was a sign that said work ahead, so on my right I could not go the right lane as I seen a UPS Truck in my review mirror coming up, I slowed up really fast, so should I have just moved to the right lane and caused an accident maybe or was slowing up the wrong thing to do and I should have speeded up to get to the right lane?

    Reply
    • LInda Pazera,

      Of course, you should not have caused an accident. This goes without saying. The law requires you to move over when it is safe to do so and, if you cannot, then you should slow down.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I received this ticket recently and plan to plea not guilty although I will have to travel back out of state to do so. I’m not completely sure I “broke” the law. I slowed down and moved over but not entirely into the left hand lane; although, my ticket reads “failed to move over for stopped emergency vehicle.” I’m 99% sure there were no lights on the police car and he immediately pulled out and pulled me over. I’ve never received a ticket in my 20 years of driving and have no idea how to request a conference. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  • Hello,

    I received one of these tickets today. I did see that the police officer had someone pulled over on the right shoulder but I could not move over to the left lane. I slowed down and kept driving.

    I was pulled over a few minutes later and the police officer asked me if I knew about the law. I answered that I did not. He asked for my relevant information and later gave me a ticket for not moving over to another lane, for not slowing down, and because my “passenger tires were on the white lane.”

    My passenger says that I did not travel on the white lane. However, it is on the ticket and it seems like it will be my word against the police officer’s.

    I plan to plead not guilty because I could not move to the left lane due to oncoming traffic. What I would like to know is whether it seems like I will be able to strike up a plea bargain despite the fact that the ticket says that I didn’t slow down and was on the white lane.

    Thank you very much for your time.

    Reply
  • Hi,

    I’m a New York driver who was driving in Florida & had no idea about this move over law. When I was pulled over the office told me that he pulled me over because I failed to stop for an emergency vehicle & because I was wearing earphones when driving. I explained that I had never heard of the law & didn’t know what he was talking about. I also explained that the earphones he was referring to were my iPhone hands free device which I was using to avoid getting a ticket for being on my cell phone. He then wrote me a written warning for the earphones & a ticket for passing him on the shoulder of the road. The ticket is for $165 & I believe there are points associated with it. Is there anything I can do to fight this? Do points from a traffic violation in another state go on your license?

    Reply
    • Jackie,

      Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and a NY conviction will transfer onto your Florida license (to the extent Florida recognizes these offenses). Your NY privilege to drive with a FL license will be assessed points and you’ll have to pay a fine.

      You should plead not guilty and fight these tickets. If you cannot or do not want to go to court, then you should retain a NY traffic lawyer to appear for you.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Cops are abusing this. I was recently pulled over on the New York State Thruway for an alleged violation of this law. There was a car in the lane next to me. The State Trooper had somebody pulled over before me then immediately pulled me over. It should be noted that the trooper was safely off to the side of the road and I did slow down. After issuing a ticket and after I passed through a nearby toll plaza, I saw this same trooper with yet another person pulled over. Sounds like quota time to me. Definitely pleading not guilty

    Reply
  • I received a ticket for not ‘moving over’ on a Saturday night in February 2013, on route 84 west, near the intersection of route 9. There is no question they had ‘move over’ traps that night with one patrol vehicle stopped in the breakdown lane giving someone a ticket and another patrol vehicle sitting directly behind waiting to go after their next victim. I believe I saw 3 different sets of patrol vehicles set-up this way on that night. When I saw the patrol vehicle and lights flashing, I did exactly what I have always learned to do…. slow down, proceed with caution, and insure I was out of the way. What I did not do… and did not know I was supposed to do…. was to change lanes. It was a night of relatively busy traffic and I don’t think I even could have changed lanes to the left. When I was stopped I had absolutely no idea why the officer was stopping me!

    I sent in my ticket pleading ‘not guilty’. Tonight was my traffic court appearance in town court. The first thing I learned was that I should NOT have arrived at the scheduled time. I should have arrived early. We all stood in a long line…. first in, first out. So the people who got in line first left the quickest. After standing in line 1.25 hours (no places to sit), I had my 1 minute meeting with a prosecutor. I told him exactly what I had done to be safe when I saw the emergency vehicle and that I was unaware of the ‘move over’ law. He asked about any existing ticket history I had…. and told me he was reducing my ticket to a parking violation, no points. I then waited 5 minutes to see a judge, received and paid a $75 parking fine…. and finally left 1.5 hours later!

    Sure seems to me this was just traps to bring in some money… not about enforcing any law for safety!

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      There is no doubt that traffic court is an indirect way to “tax” motorists. At least, you got a great result after investing so much time.
      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hi I received fail to yield to emergency vehicle ticket . i m yellow cab driver . i m picking up the passenger from 125w street in new york its two way street . same time ambulance came from other side and come behind my car wrong way and back up and hit my vehicle i call 911 and police came they make accident report and officer give my ticket . i m already in side of street and the time ambulance hit me i m helping the old passenger to get in my car and i don”t think they gonna came behind my car wrong way and back up and hit my car. what should i do know plz help me

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      You should plead not guilty. It doesn’t sound like you violated the applicable statute and the officer didn’t even see the alleged offense.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Harvey Romanoff
    April 22, 2013 4:49 am

    Wow -These emails were really an eye opener. I just received a move over violation near Lewis NY on the Thruway. I have been driving extremely carefully for the last month as I received my first moving violation (for speeding) in 8 years (That in and of itself is another story with a questionable ticket which I paid). In any event there was a police car who had pulled (I think a vehicle with someone it it, though after reading this blog I cant be sure) on the right side of the road. I believe his flashers were on) There was a car in front of me approx a few hundred ft and we were traveling in the right lane approx 65 miles per hour (the speed limit) I do not recall if the car in front of me pulled over to the left lane. I do know that I slowed my speed approx 10 miles per hour to 55 and moved partially (mind you by instinct not because I knew there was any law to move in to the left lane) in an effort to provide an additional safety barrier. I do believe the police office and the car he pulled over did have plenty of room for the police office to go from his car to the other vehicle without jeorpardazing his safety. (even if I had not moved a few feet to my left). After passing the police car I stayed (actually went back to the middle of the left lane) and raised my speed to the speed limit of 65 (I was using my cruise control) Several miles later (it appeared to be 5 minutes or longer) a police car pulled behind my vehicle and put on the flashers. When the office came to my car I asked him “what could I possibly have done wrong” He said to me I did not pull over and asked me for my license and registration. He told me “that he could not tolerate that type of behavior”. I mean as if I intentionally was looking to disrespect the law (I have to admit I never heard of this law – I know I am supposed to move over for emergency vehicles (I usually find a place to pull over and stop on the side of the road if it is available) that approach.
    On the ticket the officer marked my comment or substantially stated “that I had moved over enough” Wow is that taking my statement out of context. It gives the appearance that I knew the law and had taken it upon myself to interpret the law. It makes it appear that I had disregarded the safety of the officer. I had told the officer that I was law abiding and asked if he could provide some leniency. He apparently did not care. He told me if I wanted to appeal I could appear in court 5/23 (He apparently had his schedule organized expecting to be present for god knows how many of these citations he had given.
    It is really incredible. I am scared to even drive my car at this time. Not a single ticket in over 8 years and now I am given two questionable tickets. I really do not know what to do. I presume I will plead not guilty and hire a lawyer. Quite frankly, based upon what I have read on this blog, this will cost me dearly. What is worse i do not even know if I will be given the opportunity to pay a fine and have zero points added to my license (though attorney Weiss gives the impression that this is a very common occurence)

    Reply
  • I recieved a ticket that said FLD something emergency vehicle. He also said I was going 71 in a 55 however that’s not on the ticket. I wasn’t able to move over because of traffic. He said he got me for both however just one is on the ticket. Should I not request the deposition and just do not guilty. Who do I try to explain my story to? the DA when I get called?

    Reply
    • Steven,

      You should plead not guilty. On your court date, you’ll have a chance to conference the case with the prosecutor and hopefully be able to negotiate this down.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was pulled over on i-87 N , I dont drive on the interstate much, and my gps lost signal and I needed to take exit 20, but when the exit lane appeared I noticed a cop had a car pulled over in the exit lane, so I stayed in the right lane thinking i wasnt in the same lane as the cop so I was doing the right thing, then once I got past the cop I took the exit. Then he raced after me sirens and everything and literally yelled at me. I told him I wasnt aware of the law. But I got a ticket anyway. If I would have moved over any further I would not have been able to safely make the exit because i would have cut across at least 2 lanes of traffic in a short time. What should my argument be when I show up in court?

    Reply
  • I was pulled over today in Vermont. There were two cops about 1/4 of a mile apart. The second cop didnt have anyone pulled over and he immediatly got behind me very closely and turned on his lights. Normally I would go into the left lane if I see a cop with his lights on as a courtesty (i had no clue there was a law that went into effect last year) but there was traffic, it was the middle of the night and I was tired. I did slow down, put my blinker on and moved as far to the left as I could without hitting the other cars. I was only going 60 mpg to begin with, I had my cruise control on, so I must have been going around 50 when I passed both cops. Well I got a $243 ticket at 5 points! The cop told me he was sick of getting hit by cars passing by( clearly Mr. Cop you have never been hit by a car on the highway as you seem to be in good health). I told him that I attempted to move but he wouldnt listen to me. I am going to try to attempt to fight it, but I feel like it will just be my word against his. It is the night before Thanksgiving though, which would explain the extra traffic.

    Reply
  • I recently received a “move over violation.” The problem is the law states that when you see an emergency vehicle such as a police officer pulled to the side, you are to move over to the next lane if safety and traffic allows and if not, continue in your lane and proceed with caution. The highways where I live are only two lanes, one in each direction. This particular day I had a tailgater and several oncoming traffic approaching which prevented me from moving over or stopping so I just slowed down, moved to the yellow line that separates the lane and stayed in my lane. My question is should I have gotten a ticket for a move over violation when I was following the law?

    Reply
    • Asia Coleman,

      From what you describe, you have a valid defense. How can you move over when there is only one lane in each direction? As long as you slowed down, you complied with the letter of the law. Plead not guilty and fight this ticket.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I got the same ticket yesterday on my way back from NYC to Toronto. The officer was standing in front of the stopped vehicle. He hand signed me to move over the the fast lane which I did immediately before passing him. He then chased me down (after he is done with the other vehicle) and pulled me to the shoulder asking me if I knew what happened back then. I told him I figured that out after he hand signaled me. He told me there is a move over law in place in NY State. Obviously I am not aware since I am not a US resident. My last NY visit was back in May 2010 when the law wasn’t even in place. I want to plead not guilty because I DID pull over to the fast lane before passing the officer but I have to read into this law some more to understand if the moving vehicle has to move over certain distance before parked vehicles. Is there anything that I should be aware of before taking action?

    Reply
    • Amy,

      Because points from New York transfer to Ontario, we recommend that you fight this ticket. You (or your NY traffic lawyer) should be familiar with your demerit point system and NY’s point system. In this way, you will understand how to optimally negotiate a plea bargain. If you fight this move over ticket, you likely can negotiate it down to a less serious charge.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Robert Saucier
    April 21, 2012 6:09 pm

    I was driving south on 87. I did not know about the “move over” law. Even if I had known (and anyway, law or no law, one usually moves to the left lane in such circumstances), I was sort of trapped in traffic and switching lanes would have been a bit dangerous.

    So I was pulled over and handed a ticket for “failed to yield right-of-way to emergency vehicle”. The officer told me it was a lesser charge. How weird! A lesser charge about something that did not happen. How could I protest this? It would be my word against his.

    Guess I will just plead guilty and try to forget this incident which really did put a dark cloud over our trip for a few days.

    Regards.

    Reply
    • Robert,

      Actually, the “failure to yield to an emergency vehicle” is not a lesser charge. Like a “move over” law charge, it carries 3 points and roughly the same fine. Interestingly, by cutting you a “break”, the officer may have made it easier for you to fight this ticket. Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle has unique elements that are quite different from a “move over” violation. Specifically, it generally applies to motorists who do not get out of the away of an emergency vehicle coming up from the rear. Because your fact pattern presumably did not involve such an occurrence, it presents a ripe opportunity to contest this ticket (if you so decide).

      Good luck.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • devon crampton
    March 29, 2012 12:28 pm

    hey everyone, i got a ticket for not moving over for a work vehicle, i pled not guilty( im going to try for a reduction of charge) and i never received a supporting deposition, which i requested when i pled not guilty, how long does it take to get one?

    my big question, when i used the reduction of charge generator it comes up with what i was charged with, (1144(a) Failed to yield right of way to emergency vehicle.)
    and then the reduction of charge that comes up is

    I hereby authorize a change of plea from not guilty to guilty to be entered on my behalf to the
    charge of 1144(a) Failed to yield right of way to emergency vehicle
    with the understanding that the People are recommending an Unconditional Discharge

    does that mean that im just pleding guity for the same charge again, i dont know who to talk to, and im not going to send the paperwork in until i understand what its saying

    Reply
    • Devon,

      Yes, this “offer” means that you are going no offer (they are saying to plead guilty to the charge”). You can appear on your court date and try to get a reduction in-person.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hello, I just thought that I may be able to get the clear understanding from here.

    I have gotten a ticket which reads “FLD DUE CARE FOR EMERG VEH STOPPED OR STANDING,” and the funny thing is I think I got into a trap.

    What I mean by trap is that there were about 3,4 state trooper vehicles on the right shoulder and I was going on a second lane (There was only two lanes for 65 mph road). I did slow down a bit because there were polices ahead of me.

    The funny thing is there were cars in front and back of me, and when I pulled over, the officer told me that I did not change the lane and told me that New Jersey has the same law. (I live in New Jersey but I go to school in upstate New York so I was going down to New Jersey, @ 81 South when I got the ticket.)

    I knew that when emergency vehicle comes behind me I am supposed to move to the right shoulder or make reasonable accomodations to let them through.

    And I know that I “violated” law by not changing the lane, but I feel a little bad because it wasn’t really an emergency. I probably saw at least 10 state trooper vehicles within the minute-long distance. I assume that police officers were on a picnic or something… to issue so many tickets.

    Now my concern is, however, this is the first ticket I ever got since I started driving (got my driver’s license in high school), and that I do not know what I should do.

    Some people say I should plead guilty and ask for point/fine reduction, and some people say I should fight this by pleading not guilty.

    But I’m afraid that I need a traffic lawyer or other professionals in the field to help me fight the ticket. I am a college student expecting to graduate in the coming May, and I am poor just like everybody else and It is really tough for me to afford even $150 ticket. I want to get the clear answer from here If I can.

    Should I get the traffic lawyer to fight this? (I heard NJ takes only 2 points per case for tickets gotten out of state. Will it affect my insurance cost? I am 21 years old.)

    Or should I do plead not guilty, how should I fight this?

    I have never been in the court before and in all honesty, I’m kind of scared what might happen to me if I plead not guilty and go to a court without a lawyer which may actually cost more than the ticket itself.

    And the name of the town that the court resides in is Homer, in New York state with zip-code of 13077.

    I have to appear at court on March 27, 2012, and I wonder what may be the best option for me as of now.

    Reply
    • Homer,

      On your court date, ask for a conference. At the conference, you can try and negotiate a plea bargain to a lesser charge. If you are too nervous, you can retain a NY traffic lawyer to appear for you instead.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • I really appreciate your quick response, sir!

        I will certainly ask for a conference and try and negotiate a plea bargain on the court date.

        Thank you so much. 🙂

        Reply
  • While driving north on I-87 on March 18, near Bethlehem, I noticed a number of police cars detaining motorists. I was driving in the slow lane, and was unaware of the ‘move over’ law (on which I am well-informed now thanks to your blog). Having said this, I normally move over to the left lane when I see an emergency vehicle or a regular vehicle parked on the side of the road. A police car stopped me 10-15 minutes after I had passed it citing ‘failed due care for emergency vehicle stopped or standing.’ Further, the officer mentioned that I had failed to use turn signal lamps while changing a lane while he was following me, and issued me a ticket under subsection 1164b as well. My best recollection passing the parked police car is that I slowed down and did not want to enter the left lane where traffic was faster. I would have done otherwise had I known there was a law on this.
    I have received no tickets in New York since I moved here six years ago, and over the previous five years during my residence in a different state. I consider myself a safe driver, and take the defensive driving course every three years as recommended by my insurance company (and yet I was unfamiliar with the move over law). Given these particulars, I mailed a not guilty plea to the Bethlehem traffic court on both tickets. That was before I discovered your blog, which is really informative.
    I would greatly appreciate your advice on how to proceed.

    Reply
    • Uchan,

      You did the right thing by pleading not guilty. At your court date, you can likely negotiate a plea bargain so you end up with less serious consequences.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Matthew,
        Thanks for your quick response. What would be a reasonable plea bargain outcome in this situation? Is it serious enough to warrant hiring a traffic lawyer? I live in Albany, so attending the court hearing in Delmar would not be burdensome. In my previous email, the date of the tickets should be March 11, instead of March 18.
        Thanks for your advice.

        Reply
        • Uchan,

          You likely can get this case reduced to 2 or 3 points. Since you live so close and apparently do not mind going to court, plead not guilty and appear yourself. If you can’t work out a satisfactory deal, you can always ask for a new date to get a traffic lawyer.

          Good luck!

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
  • It’s a shame I did not see this before this morning. I just mailed out my ticket this morning pleading guilty. I was stopped on Route 84 yesterday afternoon two exits before the Galleria Mall exit.

    The weigh station was operating yesterday and the troopers had several trucks pulled over on the side of the road for running past the weigh station. I was pulled over and informed why. I did slow down while passing the stopped trucks and police cars and moved over in the right lane as far as I could. The officers of all the police cars were in their cars when I passed by them.

    Is it too late for me to change my plea? I did keep a copy of my ticket for my own records. I have a clean driving record and have had one for years. I was unaware of this law but I know ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    Reply
    • Marge,

      It’s likely not too late. Call the court first thing Monday morning, and try and catch it. If you do, you likely can get the points reduced to 0.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Matthew,

    Firstly, I have to complement you on such a fine blog…and providing pro-bono advice is especially gracious. However, I only wish I had seen your blog before I was stopped yesterday on the NY Thruway.

    I was traveling east on my way to Skanaeteles for a lunch meeting at 12:30 PM. Since it was Friday, so the traffic density was greater than say a mid week journey would be. Around the Manchester area I noticed a patrol car in the breakdown lane that had stopped a motorist for what ever reason. His lights were flashing all colors of the rainbow and I was constantly checking traffic as I drew closer.

    Normally, I am mostly in the outside lane among all the faster traffic, but this day I decided to travel at 65 mph on cruise control on the inside lane. As a got closer to the patrol car there was a very high speed black BMW coming up fast and I realized that I was not able to move over into the fast lane. I did brake, but it was not easy to come to a speed of around 20 mph without getting rear-ended by traffic behind me. There was a mix of trucks and cars and two tractor-trailers ahead of me…in addition to a black VW SUV.

    Within about 30 seconds of passing the police car it virtually leapt off the breakdown lane and came screaming along the outside lane overtaking me gong at least 80 mph and pulling in front of two trucks and the VW SUV, which it flagged down. As I was following much slower, when I reached the VW SUV, now in the breakdown lane stopped, the officer charged down the breakdown lane and flagged me down. I pulled over and waited for him to come to my car which was about six car lengths down the breakdown lane form the VW SUV. The officer was frantically charging around as though it was pirana feeding frenzy.

    His driving was extremely dangerous and his manner was hostile when he stopped me. We had an altercation and he didn’t care one iota what I said to explain the situation. I am aware of this new law, but not the fine details, as I thought it was more to do with an emergency vehicle approaching from the rear, not when passing police cars in the breakdown lane.

    The plain simple fact is that this new “Move Over” law cannot be implemented. It is unworkable in its present form and is open to corruption by the police, which from the letters I have read on your blog seem at a pandemic stage. This will result in a larger number of accidents, especially on major limited access highways. In towns it is going to be impossible for cars to negotiate on narrow two lane roads, with constant traffic both ways, to comply. As I’m sure all your readers have experienced, the police don’t seem to care where they stop to pull drivers over.

    I intend to write a letter of complaint to the Governor, not just for my case but to educate those bureaucrats in Albany, who created this chaos in the first place.

    Reply
    • Alan,

      Thanks for your nice compliment and thoughtful post. The “Move Over” law has had a shaky transition from idea to law. Many motorists still do not understand it or obey it.

      My best advice is that you should immediately slow down and, when safe, move over as soon as you see ANY lights on a vehicle on the roadway.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was cited for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle on my way to New York today. As I wasn’t aware of this law, I just automatically thought that the vehicle let me go first. The only problem is that I am going back to Canada in 4 days and it would be difficult for me to appear in court near future. Also, it says if I plea not guilty, then I have to submit the form within 48 hours. Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Brian,

      If you cannot or do not want to return to NY, then you can retain a New York traffic lawyer to appear for you. Feel free to call us for a free consultation. We represent many Canadian drivers and are therefore familiar with the interplay between New York State and your province.

      Matthew Weiss
      212-683-7373

      Reply
  • Let’s remember this law states “authorized emergency vehicle” this includes ambulances, fire apparatus, EMS fly cars. fire command units, chief vehicle’s…its not just cop cars, firefighter’s and EMS workers are injured just a much by drivers not either A) not caring cause there late for the McDonalds Breakfast or B) inattentive drivers, but they don’t get the same attention (they never have, and never will).

    Reply
  • I was cited yesterday for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, meaning a police car that was stopped at the side of the road. I was not aware of this law (I live in Mass) nor did I think I drove by the pulled over police car at an excessive speed. Since it is not feasible for me to appear in court to fight this citation, can (or should) I fight this via mail? I would like to avoid the potential insurance penalty and would be willing to pay the fine or would like to avoid the insurance penalty and fine altogether.

    Thanks…

    Reply
  • Matthew,
    I was travelling on 84 by Greenville today and passed a trooper who had a car pulled over. I did not move from the right lane as a faster car was coming up beside me and I didn’t believe it was a safe move, I made an attempt to get as far to the center as I could, safely. I always make the effort to pull over when it is safe and believe it is common sense. I did brake to deactivate my cruise control and slowed down approx 10mph. When I looked in my rear view mirror I noticed the trooper running to his suv. He pulled out from that location in a speedy manor and came up behind me and put his lights on, as we passed another trooper with a car pulled over. I pulled over with no clue what I had done and was surprised when he told me the infringement. As I wait for my notice another 2 troopers went past and pulled over cars up from us. At one point there were 3 troopers within a quarter of a mile. Clearly a blitz on this particular law. The trooper left me and had another car pulled over before I had even got back on the highway! I accepted the ticket reluctantly and after reading your blog, believe I should plead not guilty. I’m originally from Australia, and have a clean record for 15 years there and have been in the US for 5 with not a single infringement. The points is my main concern. Incidentally I was moving from Maryland to New York today and had been in NY for less then 15 miles and this happens, leaving me with a sour taste already about NY. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Great Blog!!

    Reply
    • Justin,

      First off, don’t have a bad taste about New York. It is a wonderful state with so much to see and do.

      In regard to your ticket, plead not guilty. You’ll be given a court date and, at that time, you can negotiate a reduction to a lesser charge. Given your clean record, you should be fine.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
    • You need to fight this ticket, because the move over law does not apply when it is not safe to move over. It’s right there in the text of the law, as noted above. You *are* not guilty. Since you live in NY now, it will be easier for you to get to the appropriate court to fight the ticket than it is for the Canadians caught in traps (did you notice that police like to ticket people from out of state?).

      I wouldn’t take Mr. Weiss’s advice to negotiate. Someone needs to show the police and DAs that they aren’t above the law. Given that you know that it was not safe to move over, the ticket is completely dishonest; anything less than fighting it all the way is just knuckling under to blackmail. Which you might do if it was too much trouble not to, but it probably *isn’t* too much trouble for you.

      The troopers probably expected you to be leaving the state again and figured you wouldn’t be willing to come back to fight a blatantly bogus ticket, but since you *are* able to do so, they may just drop the charges completely when they find out you’re local now. Forcing the trooper into cross-examination over the state of the traffic in the left lane, in front of a jury, is something they probably want to avoid. And something you can demand, unless they drop all charges.

      Reply
  • Hi-
    I have searched everywhere and can’t find where it states if you can’t change lanes, how much should you slow down. Is that in the law? Seems like if you were going 65 and slowed down to 55, then you are slowing down. From reading the comments, I’m guessing slowing down 10 mph isn’t enough. Is it a judgement call on the ticketing officer or judge?
    Thanks-

    Reply
    • Kara,

      Yes, it is a judgment call on the part of the police officer. The statute (quoted below) does not quantify a specific speed limit or reduction.

      § 1144-a. Operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle.

      Every operator of a motor vehicle shall 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 such authorized emergency vehicle is displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter. 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 emergency vehicle displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter is parked, stopped or standing to another lane, provided that such movement otherwise complies with the requirements of this chapter including, but not limited to, the provisions of sections eleven hundred ten of this title and eleven hundred twenty-eight of this title.

      Reply
      • “provided that such movement otherwise complies with the
        requirements of this chapter ”

        As I read this, if it’s not safe to move over (safe driving is required by this chapter of the law), then the move over law *does not apply*. Correct?

        It seems to me that this is the main situation in which people should fight supposed “move over” tickets, because any honest judge or jury would understand that “the other lane was full of traffic and I could not move over” means the move over law does not apply.

        Reply
        • Anon,

          You are correctly reading the law. Of course, whether it was safe to move over (or not) will be an issue decided by the judge, and most often the police officer’s version of the events is adopted (over an motorists).

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
  • Please, suggest, chances, and what case/law, precedent, to fight new york ticket, where, ticketed, for
    “1160 d, violation accusation, of failing to turn*(right only), at 3 lane road, which, not clearly, or not properly, marked, IE NONE WHATSOEVER/ sign indicators, on top, by stop lights, and likewise, NONE WHATSOEVER, signs, on side, and prior, markings, on road, pavement, which greatly depleted, by wear, and snow-plowed, faded away, and in raining and heavy traffic, where, “impossible to see, throw, a vehicle, passing on top of depleted former bottom signs.

    iE, APPEARS, TO BE INTENTIONAL TRAP, TO MAKE, INTERSECTION VAGUE, AND TO WRITE, AS MANY TICKETS, AS POSSIBLE , DUE TO CONFUSING, INTERSECTION.

    WHAT IS CASE, LAW, TO FIGHT TICKET?

    Reply
    • Paul,

      From your description it appears that the police officer charged you under the wrong section of law. As you will read below, Section 1160(d) is a law which basically prevents a motorist from turning when such turn would otherwise be legal.

      Take photos and bring a copy of the statute and these two you help you win (assuming you are charged with illegally turning right.

      Matthew Weiss

      Section 1160(d) states as follows:

      § 1160. Required position and method of turning at intersections. The
      driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as
      follows:
      (d) When markers, buttons, signs, or other markings are placed within
      or adjacent to intersections and thereby require and direct that a
      different course from that specified in this section be traveled by
      vehicles turning at an intersection, no driver of a vehicle shall turn a
      vehicle at an intersection other than as directed and required by such
      markers, buttons, signs, or other markings.

      Reply
  • Found this blog and I am glad I am not the only one “ignorant” of this new law. Was pulled over tonight on I 84 in Kent NY and did not pull over to the left lane. I did slow down a bit when I saw the cop car, with lights flashing, on the shoulder with another motorist he pulled over. But yes I am guilty, but I had no idea of this new “move over law”. I am licensed in Connecticut and wonder if this will be points against me.
    Thanks for your time….

    Reply
    • Ernie,

      Points from a NY conviction will NOT transfer to your CT license. However, the conviction will be reported to CT so it is possible for your insurance company to learn about it and use it against you.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Steven Garhartt
    December 13, 2011 9:13 am

    I got pulled over for this last night, an officer had a car pulled over on the side of the road I put on my blinker and passed him in the other lane (so i moved over). I slowed down as i passed to around 45 mph the speed limit on the road was 55, he pulls me over saying I was going 55 when i passed him and was given a ticket for not reducing my speed.
    What do I do?

    Reply
  • It is a trap ! They certainly abuse it. They wait for Canadian that just crossed the border and ignorant of this new law. I got my ticket of 185 $, they gave me 14 days to pay it and now they are closed for holidays, wich mean I had less than 14 days. The cop told me it was common sense to change of lane, but then why wasnt this law adopted earlier ? It’s just plain stupid to me

    Reply
  • My 16 year old son got pulled over on the Thruway in October. We came upon a car pulled over with three police cars behind it. I told my son he had to move over, we were about 1/2 mile from our exit and he didn’t think he had time, by the time I convinced him he had time there was something in our left lane and he couldn’t get over. The officer who pulled him over was very pleasant and explained about the law. He said it wasn’t their intent to give out points it was more to educate and get the people pulled over to tell others. He recomended my son plead not guilty and he was sure the ticket would be reduced. My son in the spirit of what the trooper said posted the info on Move Over on his FaceBook page. We mailed in the ticket with the not guilty plea and appeared for our conference with the town attorney. The town attorney took a very hard line and said the Troopers were being very stringent about the law and there would be no pleading it down. Further he said my son could get 2 points on his license and could have his Learner’s Permit suspended for six months. Needless to say we didn’t take what he had on the table but continued our not guilty plea. I felt it was better to take our chances with the J.P.. My son now has a court date 12/8/11. Two question was the town attorney correct on the penalties and second do we take our chances or at this point is our best bet to retain a traffic attorney?

    Reply
    • Paul,

      A move over violation carries 3 points. Further, a motorist with a Learner’s Permit may not be convicted of any moving violations. Therefore, you did the right thing by pleading not guilty.

      Given your son’s situation, we recommend that you retain an experienced New York traffic lawyer.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • First off, just want to say great blog. Came here looking for information about this law and was very happy with what I found.

    I was ticketed for not moving over back in September while on Highway 17. I feel it was a trap. Three cops, one without lights on, all well into the shoulder. The only reason I didn’t move over was because of hazard signs indicating a left lane closure – I had no idea when this would happen because there were no distance indicator signs and the turn uphead was a blind one.

    Been fighting this ever since with the Hancock Town Court. First they sent me a notice of a pre-trial conference for October 3rd, yet the letter wasn’t postmarked until October 13th. They simply said “oh, sorry for the clerk error”, and reissued me the supposed correct date of December 12th. At this point I’m so frustrated with them I’ve considered just asking what the fine is and paying it, but that’s not my style – I don’t like admitting defeat, lol

    Anyway, any further advice you can give? Personally I thought I could get them to dismiss it based on their error, but that was met with a brick wall.

    Reply
    • Thanks Graham for the nice remarks.

      My advice is to appear on December 12th and ask for a conference. Dress neat and be polite. You should be able to get this reduced to a 0-point ticket like no seat belt or illegal parking.

      Good luck.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Thanks for the advice! I fought this by mail with the ADA, and they gave me a bargain of dropping it to a 0-point ticket if I pay a fine. Of course, I have no idea what this could be since NYS doesn’t list the monetary penalites on their tickets. I’m calling the courthouse tomorrow as instructed to see if I can get a specific number, but I did have a few questions:

        1. What is the usual monetary fine range for this citation?
        2. Devils advocate – if I refuse the deal, and continue fighting this and get hit with a full 3 points, do NYS points transfer to CT?

        Reply
        • My pleasure Graham. The fine will be roughly $200 and, if you fight it and lose, points from NY will NOT transfer to CT. A NY conviction will be reported to CT, however, and your CT insurance company could use it against you. We therefore recommend that you take the plea offer.

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
  • I was just ticketed for not moving over, but I didn’t feel like I had the option to. I was fined $438 dollars? Is that high or normal for these fines?

    Reply
    • Veil,

      That fine sounds hire especially if you have an otherwise clean record. We recommend that you plead not guilty and try and get the points and fine reduced.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I got pulled over yesterday for the move-over law.

    I do feel like it was a trap but I was ignorant of the law.
    In my case, there was a trooper pulled way off the left shoulder, into the grass median with another car. There was a very wide shoulder and he was beyond that!
    I was in the left lane at or below the speed limit. The trooper was in the right lane waiting for me and pulled me over.

    What do you think…

    in the text of the law it says “stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of such highway”

    Can I fight this based on the trooper being completely off the shoulder?

    thanks….mike g

    great blog by the way!

    Reply
    • Michael,

      You should be a lawyer. The operative phrase is, in fact, “parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of such highway”. You should argue that the officer was not stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of the highway”. Of course, if you are offered a 0-point ticket in a plea bargain, you should seriously consider taking it rather than risking trial.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply

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