Under New York law, if you see lights flashing, whether from a police car, fire truck, ambulance, or a maintenance vehicle, you are required to slow down and move over so as to ensure the safety of any first responders who are performing their professional duties. Drivers must reduce their speed any time they approach emergency vehicles displaying red and/or white emergency lighting, and if emergency or hazard lights are flashing, drivers must move over unless dangerous conditions or traffic prevent them from safely doing so. However, the fact of the matter is that unfortunately, many people either are unaware of this law or fail to pay attention to it, and many individuals are seriously injured or killed in car accidents as a result.
While New York Governor Cuomo has developed a number of ad campaigns to raise public awareness of the New York Move Over Law, too many motor vehicle accidents that involve public service members, or other individuals helping or working on the side of the highway, are still occurring.
Just this past May, a New York State Trooper was seriously injured when his patrol vehicle was rear-ended by a pickup truck that was traveling at a high rate of speed. The Trooper had just pulled a vehicle over on I-86 near the Town of Campbell when the accident occurred. Although both Ford and Dodge have worked to reinforce the frames of the law enforcement vehicles they design, and they’ve designed and placed crumple zones on the vehicles, devastating accidents can still happen. Realistically, there is nothing that can protect you when you are in your vehicle and a three to four-ton vehicle traveling at high speed slams into.
In addition to driving somewhat safer vehicles, most first responders will also take actions to try to ensure the safety of themselves and other personnel by parking their vehicles in positions to shield the scene to which they are responding. However, there are many other times where a law enforcement officer has no choice but to sit in their patrol car, which is completely exposed to traffic, to fill out paperwork or talk with dispatch. Officers in these instances depend on other motorists to follow the Move Over Law.
Although violations of the Move Over Law are punishable simply as a moving violation, if you fail to follow the law, and an auto accident occurs, the impacts can be devastating and life-changing. So next time you see those flashing lights, reduce your speed move over as quickly and safely as possible. Abiding by the Move Over Law, and moving over and slowing down, can literally save the lives of many.
There is no excuse for negligent driving. If you have been involved in a car accident in Long Island due to the negligence of another driver that failed to follow the Move Over Law, contact the experienced and trusted personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. You deserve compensation for your injuries, and our accident lawyers will fight for your rights to help you receive justice. Contact us at (866) 895-0420 or fill out our free, no-obligation consultation form.