National "Move Over Day" on Saturday Urges Drivers to Slow Down and Give Highway Workers and Emergency Responders Space to Work Safely
New York State Police Issued 13,059 Move Over Law Violations in 2018
Ahead of National Move Over Day, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today highlighted the importance of New York's Move Over Law, which requires motorists to drive with care, slow down, and safely move over when approaching emergency or hazard vehicles that are stopped along roadways across the state. The reminder comes on the eve of National Move Over Day, which occurs each year on the third Saturday in October.
"Police, highway workers, tow truck drivers and emergency responders risk their lives every day so that we can drive across New York safely," Governor Cuomo said. "For everyone's sake, I urge motorists to heed the Move Over Law and use common sense. When you see an emergency or hazard vehicle along the highway, slow down and have the courtesy to move your vehicle over a lane to give those brave men and women room to work."
Officials from the New York State Thruway Authority, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Police and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee held an awareness event today at the Thruway's Herkimer Maintenance Section in Herkimer County, urging drivers to heed the law. Tomorrow - National Move Over Day - electronic variable message signs along state highways will display reminders to promote Move Over Law awareness.
New York's Move Over Law was enacted in 2011 to protect New Yorkers working along roadways and has since been expanded to include a wide range of emergency and hazard vehicles. The Move Over Law applies to both sides of the road - not just the shoulder on the right - and includes tow trucks, construction vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles, police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances. The law now applies to vehicles with flashing blue, green, red, white, or amber lights, giving law enforcement more authority to penalize violators who jeopardize the safety of those working along highways.
New York State Police issued 13,059 Move Over violations in 2018. Violators can face two points on their driver licenses and a minimum $150 fine for the first offense.
In addition to National Move Over Day, the Thruway Authority recently released a Work Zone Safety Public Safety Announcement (PSA) featuring Sally Deming, the widow of Thruway Maintenance employee Ron Deming. Deming, of Little Falls, was tragically killed while working on the New York State Thruway in October 2016. The PSA, which has aired on TV stations across the state and on social media, also features Thruway Authority Maintenance employees who were involved in recent work zone incidents.
The State Department of Transportation last summer also released a Public Service Announcement highlighting the importance of moving over in construction work zones, while refraining from distracted driving. This PSA complements two previous ones, including one PSA released by the Thruway Authority in 2017 highlighting the dangers faced by New York's emergency responders and another PSA launched by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee encouraging the traveling public to slow down and move over on New York's highways.
On March 13, 2019, DOT Region 9 employee Dennis "Matt" Howe was parked on the shoulder of Route 17 with his lights flashing, alerting motorists to a road repair crew just down the road. A tractor-trailer driver who failed to move over struck Matt's truck, fatally wounding him. He passed away on March 18, 2019. He left behind numerous family members, friends and colleagues. A section of State Route 17 where the accident occurred will be renamed to memorialize and honor Mr. Howe.
Throughout the summer, State Police worked with NYSDOT on a joint initiative called "Operation Hard Hat," which featured State Troopers dressed as highway workers to crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving through active construction and maintenance work zones. Troopers were on the lookout for motorists who violated the State's Move Over Law and issued hundreds of tickets for a variety of violations, including speeding and seat belt use.
In addition, NYSDOT and the Thruway Authority sponsored an exhibit at this year's New York State Fair highlighting the importance of driving safely in highway work zones. It featured equipment damaged by vehicles intruding into areas where agency employees and contractors were working on the highway.
New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "It's been nearly three years since Ron's death, and unfortunately maintenance workers and emergency responders still experience situations where motorists do not slow down and safely move over. This is not just a courtesy - it's the law in New York State. These men and women are real people with real families. Please help them return home safely at the end of their shifts and give them your attention when on the road."
New York State Department of Transportation Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Governor Cuomo's Move Over Law is fundamentally about safety. It gives police, emergency responders and highway workers the space they need to get the job done - whether that's saving lives or creating a safer transportation system. We are committed to the safety of our workforce and the Move Over campaign is just one of the many ways NYSDOT is working to protect our employees and educate the public on roadway safety. They work to keep us safe; let's all work to keep them safe."
Mark Schroeder, Commissioner of the State Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for promoting this vital traffic safety initiative. It's simple, help avoid a collision by moving over when you see emergency or hazard vehicles stopped on the side of road. New York's Move Over Law ensures those who are working along the road have the necessary safe space to get their crucial work done."
State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "The New York State Police are committed to keeping our roadways safe - for those who travel them, and for those who work on them. Individuals who work on our roadways work in some of the most dangerous conditions, and they should be able to do their jobs without fear of harm. We urge all drivers to slow down and move over when you see an emergency vehicle or maintenance crew on the shoulder of a road. Stay alert and put your electronic devices away. Do your part to ensure your safety and the safety of others."
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone, and in accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual's driver license. Work zone safety tips can be found here.
For real-time travel information, motorists should call 511, visit www.511NY.org or download the free 511NY mobile app.