What Is The Move Over Law (VTL 1144AA)?
Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.
This is a relatively new law that numerous drivers never heard of. If you are driving on a highway and there is an emergency vehicle on the shoulder with its lights on you must move from the extreme right hand lane to the lane to the left. If moving over to the left is not possible you must slow down considerably. Pleading guilty or being found guilty will result in 2 points on your New York driving record.
The relevant wording of the statute is as follows:
Operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle. (a) Every operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency vehicle which is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of such highway and such authorized emergency vehicle is displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter. For operators of motor vehicles on parkways or controlled access highways, such due care shall include, but not be limited to, moving from a lane which contains or is immediately adjacent to the shoulder where such authorized emergency vehicle displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter is parked, stopped or standing to another lane, provided that such movement otherwise complies with the requirements of this chapter including, but not limited to, the provisions of sections eleven hundred ten of this title and eleven hundred twenty-eight of this title.
In the typical scenario where a ticket is issued for this violation, a police officer is issuing a speeding ticket on the side of the road and notices that a passing car does not move over and then proceeds to follow the passing car and give the passing driver a ticket. Sometimes there are two police cars, one giving a ticket and the other is just looking for cars that do not move over. In a third scenario, there is just one police officer, not pulling anyone over, but sitting on the side of the road with its lights on looking for driver that will not pull over. Note that drivers are obligated to move over as long as lights are on while on shoulder. It does not matter if officer is in the process of dealing with another car or doing anything else.
In my experience unfortunately this ticket is often issued to the otherwise safest driver. The driver that almost never speeds and almost never strays from the right-hand lane. However this ticket can still be very hard to get reduced. This law was specifically enacted for the safety of police officers. Some officers take this violation personally and will not allow for any reduction or any plea negotiations for this violation.
The attorneys at the Benjamin Goldman Law Office have been successful in getting this specific charge reduced or dismissed. There are a number of defenses to the charge that we have utilized in the past on behalf of our clients. Feel free to get in touch with us about your specific 1144aa violation.