Officials Hope ‘Move Over Act’ Will Protect Emergency Workers

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.

More from John Metaxas
  • AW

    This is a little confusing because the normal rule is to pull over to the right to let the emergency vehicle pass (if you are on a 2 lane road), but it seems to be saying if you are on a highway, to move a lane over to the left to leave enough room for emergency vehicles pulled over on the right shoulder. Is this correct?

    • MSD

      If you READ the law it SPECIFICALLY says “When you see those red emergency lights in FRONT of you” (i.e there is an accident up ahead or a cop has someone pulled over) “SLOW DOWN or IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO MOVE OVER to another lane.”
      This is not about emergency vehicles approaching from BEHIND!

  • Clem

    Reduce speed? What the hell does that mean?

  • Patricia Matalone Burns

    This needs to be read by every driver in NY . Remember pull over, because they might be going to your house or your mom & dads!

    • Maureen


      This law applie to accidents that you will see AHEAD of you or when a Trooper has a vehicle pulled over REREAD THE LAW!!!! IT IS ABOUT PROTECTING EMERGENCY WORKERS AT THE SCENE OF ACCIDENTS – OR TROOPERS AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!

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