NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A new law designed to protect emergency workers in New York has gone into effect. The “Move Over Act” calls for drivers on the road to make room for ambulances, police cars and other emergency vehicles passing through.
“When you see those red emergency lights in front of you, what you must do is slow down, reduce your speed and if you’re on a highway with more than two lanes — if it’s safe to do so — you must move over,” New York State Police Captain Michael Realmuto told CBS 2′s John Metaxas.
While some drivers instinctively already do this, many times police and motorists have been injured or killed at the side of the road.
“This law forcing people to move over a lane, that should prevent people from getting unnecessarily injured,” Realmuto said.
The new law, punishable by a fine of up to $275, is named in honor of Onondaga County Sheriff Deputy Glenn Searles and State Trooper Robert Ambrose, who lost their lives responding to roadside emergencies.
Ambrose was killed nine years ago when his police cruiser was rear-ended by an SUV on the side of the thruway in Yonkers.
On 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, who is expected to recover.
Authorities are trying to get the word out about the new law with signs along state roads.
“I think it’s safe and I think it makes sense and I think it should’ve been in law a long time ago,” Yonkers resident Rob Terranova said.