How New York’s ‘Move Over’ Law Protects Your Family

As a parent, your top priority is the safety of your children and family. Like it’s instinctive or something.

When you’re driving with your little babies, ensuring their protection is easily front of mind for any mom and dad. That’s why every new parent needs to know about the expansion of New York’s Move Over law.

Not understanding or familiarizing yourself with this law wouldn’t just leave you with an expensive fine; but could also lead to serious injury or death. 

NYPD Traffic Jam in New York City

What is New York’s Move Over Law?

New York State’s Move Over law was first enacted in 2010 to safeguard emergency responders working on the side of the road.

Initially, the law required drivers to move over for police and emergency vehicles displaying red, white, blue, or amber lights.

When approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or other hazard vehicle displaying flashing lights, drivers must slow down and, if safe, move to an adjacent lane away from the vehicle. This is especially important on multi-lane roads.

Why Is This Law Important? Can’t They Just Be Careful?

The purpose of the Move Over law is to enhance safety for emergency or hazard drivers who are, for whatever reason, parked on the roadside.

This includes law enforcement officers, emergency responders, tow truck operators, and highway maintenance workers.

You know, people doing work on the side of the road. If you’ve ever had to pull over on the side of a highway, it can be a little intimidating as the cars woosh and zip by you like bullets.

The very real risk of injury or death is high enough to make anyone a little anxious. 

Protecting Emergency Responders and Workers

Emergency responders and workers are often at significant risk while performing their duties.

According to the New York State Police, there have been numerous incidents where officers and workers were injured or killed by vehicles that failed to move over.

By following the Move Over law, you help create a safer environment for these essential workers​. 

Ensuring Your Safety and the Safety of Others

For a mother driving with children, the law also has implications for your safety and that of your passengers.

Slowing down and changing lanes reduces the likelihood of accidents. Children are especially vulnerable in car crashes, so adhering to this law can help prevent tragic outcomes.

Penalties for Violating the Law

New York State takes violations of the Move Over law very seriously. If you fail to move over or slow down for stopped vehicles as required, you can get into easily avoidable trouble.

These include fines ranging from $150 to $400, and up to three points on your driver’s license per violation​​.

I know for all your video game dads that “getting points” can sound like a great thing but it’s really not. You do not want points on your license. 

How the Expansion Makes Traffic Safer

In March 2024, New York State expanded its Move Over law to encompass any and all vehicles stopped on the roadside, not just emergency and hazard vehicles.

This expansion means that drivers must now slow down and, if safe, move over for any vehicle displaying flashing lights, reflectors, or hazard indicators, regardless of the vehicle type​.

Recognizing the broader risks faced by all drivers and passengers in stopped vehicles, the law was expanded to offer greater protection for everyone on the roadside​.

Governor Kathy Hochul emphasized that this measure aims to reduce accidents and fatalities involving stopped vehicles, a significant step towards improving road safety for all New Yorkers.

The expansion addresses the growing number of incidents where drivers, not only emergency workers, have been struck by passing vehicles while stopped on the side of the road.

Tips for Complying with the Move Over Law

As a parent, it’s important to model safe driving behavior for your children. If your kid witnesses your road rage, chances are they’ll develop similar behaviors when they’re driving.

If they witness patience and emphasis on safety, they’ll likely do the same. Here are some tips to help you comply with the Move Over law and avoid paying a fine or hiring a NYC car accident lawyer.

These are pretty basic suggestions that anyone with a license is (or should be) aware of. Still, for the sake of your lil babies, brush up:

  • Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings. Look out for flashing lights or stopped vehicles ahead.
  • Check Mirrors and Blind Spots: Before changing lanes, ensure it’s safe by checking your mirrors and blind spots.
  • Slow Down: If you cannot safely change lanes, reduce your speed significantly when passing a stopped vehicle.
  • Teach Your Kids: Explain the importance of the law to your children. This not only keeps them informed but also reinforces the behavior as they grow and eventually start driving.

In Other Words, Move Over!

State after state is enacting and expanding these Move Over laws for good reason.

There have been far too many unnecessary injuries and deaths due to people driving too close to people who have no choice but to pull over.

We owe them safety and security, as they tend to do what they need to. It’s a simple mandate easily adopted by drivers where the penalty for failing to comply is too high to be worth it.

Injury and death, oddly enough, aren’t enough of a deterrent. But a fine? That’ll get ‘em. So, do your fellow man a solid and move over for the children.