“Move Over” Law Expanded to Include Tow Trucks

The history of the “move over” law began when the PBA began lobbying for this law shortly after the line-of-duty death of Trooper Robert Ambrose on Dec. 19, 2002. Trooper Ambrose was sitting in his patrol vehicle parked on the side of the highway writing an accident report when his vehicle was struck from behind. The patrol car burst into flames, killing Trooper Ambrose. After that horrific death, the PBA fought for safety improvements to the gas tanks of the Crown Victoria Police Interceptors as well as for legislation that would require motorists to move over when a public safety vehicle was parked on the side of a highway.
Since then, an earlier version of the move over law was passed by the New York State Legislature, but the PBA was not satisfied that the law did not include a penalty for breaking that law. In 2009, a revised version of that law was written to include a penalty. It was introduced in the Legislature but did not pass – along with hundreds of other bills – due to a shake-up in the Senate. In 2010, the “Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act” – named in memory of two fallen police officers – was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. David Paterson. This new law mandates that motorists move away from police vehicles – if it is safe to do so and without violating other VTL sections – when they are stopped in the lane or adjacent to a lane and have their emergency lights activated. Failure to do so is an offense that could result in the driver being ticketed.
A newer version of the move over law took effect on Jan. 1, 2011. Shortly after, on March 26, the PBA family suffered another devastating loss with the line-of-duty death of Trooper Kevin Dobson. Although his death was not caused by the intentional failure of a motorist to move over, the tragedy reiterated the dangers of patrol work.
In an ongoing effort to improve the safety of New York State Troopers and the motoring public, the PBA designed and printed bumper stickers to better inform the public about the “move over” law. As part of our public awareness campaign, the PBA is also selling these bumper stickers on our web store (www.nystpba.org) for $5 each plus shipping and handling, with proceeds to benefit the PBA’s Signal 30 Benefit Fund.

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