A new law signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul will impact every motorist.

Drivers in New York State will need to pay extra attention on the roads thanks to a new law that many say is a long time coming.

In 2010 New York passed the Move Over law. The legislation made it mandatory for drivers to move to another lane when a police officer was pulled over on the side of the road.

Why the Move Over Law Was so Confusing

While the law was well-intended, many people complained that it held the safety of police officers above others. No one argued with keeping police officers out of harm's way on the highway, but what about everyone else?

Since then, the law has been expanded several times to include firefighters and other first responders. Then, in 2019, the law was amended once again to add garbage trucks. Drivers now had a list of several specific vehicles that they needed to move over for if they saw them stopped on the side of a multi-lane road.

The mishmash of different groups protected by the Move Over law has left some motorists scratching their heads, and others feeling frustrated and left out. It did seem a bit strange that New York kept deciding whose lives were more important than others when it came to road safety.


Why the Move Over Law Was Unfair

I questioned back in 2019 why vehicles had to watch out for the safety of only a few protected groups of people, but if I were to break down on the side of the road there was no reason for anyone to look out for me.

Police and fire personnel not only sign up to respond to emergencies on the road, they're also specially trained on how to park their vehicle, approach a disabled car and keep themselves safe from oncoming traffic.

Statistics show that approximately 300 drivers are struck and killed every year. In New York State, 37 people died while standing near a disabled vehicle between 2016 to 2020. It's clear that the average motorist stuck on the side of the road is in much more danger of being struck by a vehicle than a first responder with flashing emergency lights on and, therefore, should have been the first ones protected by a Move Over law.


Move Over Law Finally Simplified For Everyone

The latest change to the Move Over law will now make it necessary for all drivers to move over whenever they see another vehicle on the side of the road as long as it's safe to do so. The legislation states it quite simply.

An operator of a motor vehicle (is required) to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a vehicle which is parked, stopped, or standing on the shoulder of a parkway or controlled-access highway.

The new legislation sponsored by New York Senator Lea Webb was voted through this spring and recently signed into law by Governor Hochul.

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