Failure to Move Over Law in New York

Move Over Sign

Move Over Law Requirements

New York requires that motorists move over when they see an emergency or hazard vehicle on the side of the road with its hazard lights on.

  • Drivers are expected to move one full lane away from the stopped vehicle. This means that traveling in an adjacent lane generally is unacceptable
  • If it is not possible to do so safely, then the driver must reduce speed as it approaches the stopped vehicle.
Move-Over Law diagram

What qualifies as an emergency or hazard vehicle?

An emergency or hazard vehicle includes not only police and fire department vehicles & ambulances, but also tow trucks, garbage trucks. roadway maintenence crews, construction crews and New York State Department of Transportation Highway Emergency Local Patrol (H.E.L.P. vehicles) - Basically any vehicle displaying hazard lights in any combination or blue, red, white or amber.

emergency vehicles

1144-a(a) - Failure to Move Over -The Statute

The relevant wording of Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1144-a(a) 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 ....  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 .... is parked, stopped or standing to another lane, provided that such movement otherwise complies with the requirements of this chapter."

Penalties for Failing to Move Over

Points:  Failure to Move Over is a 2 point offense

Fines:

  • 1st offense:    Up to $150
  • 2nd offense:  Up to $300
  • 3rd offense:   Up to $450

In addition to the above fines, state and local surcharges are added which can be between $88 and $181

Additional Potential Consequences of a Failure to Move Over Conviction

Insurance Increases

Failure to Move Over is a moving violation.  All moving violation convictions have the potential of increasing your insurance rate.

License Suspension

If you accumulate 11 points on your license, the DMV will suspend your privilege to drive. Learn more about points here.

 

Driver Responsibility Assessment

If you accumulate 6 or more points on your record within an 18 month period, the DMV will issue you an additional penalty called the Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA). The DRA is $300 for the first 6 points plus $75.00 per point over 6.

Defenses to Failure to Move-Over Violations

New York’s Move Over Law was enacted to protect police and other emergency workers who are at great risk during the performance of their duties. As such, police take these violations very seriously and prosecutors and judges are generally quite strict when it comes to negotiating these violations.

An experienced traffic attorney can gather information from you that will help us formulate the best defense for your traffic summons.

Safety (VTL Section 1128)

New York Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1128 prohibits changing lanes unless hit is safe to do so. A skilled attorney can often use this section of the law to argue that the driver's safety prohibited a lane change under the current circumstances.

Obeying Traffic Control Devices (VTL Section 1110-a)

New York Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1110-a prohibits a driver from failing to obey a traffic control device. Accordingly, if you would have had to cross a double yellow line in order to move over, an experienced attorney can argue that you cannot be forced to break one law to obey another.

Susan Veltry, Traffic Lawyer

Call an Experienced Traffic Lawyer Today

Veltry Law, PC has been successfully defending Failure to Move Over violations for since the law's inception in 2011.  With carefully crafted arguments we are able to get our clients' 1144-a(a) charges reduced or dismissed. If you have been charged with a Failure to Move Over, please visit our website to read more about our traffic defense services or call us 24/7 to speak to an experienced traffic attorney who can tell you exactly how we can help you.  

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