Move over law takes effect Jan. 1

Staff reports
Yates County Sheriff's Office Patrol Car

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike alerts county drivers that the “move over” law takes effect Jan. 1, 2011.

The Sheriff emphasized to all operators of motor vehicles in Yates County that the new statewide law designed to protect law enforcement, fire personnel and emergency workers requires motorists to move over or slow down when approaching a parked authorized emergency vehicle with emergency lights flashing.

Spike said, “The law is titled Ambrose-Searles Act as New York State Trooper Robert Ambrose was burned alive inside his vehicle. His patrol car burst into flames when it was rear-ended by a sports utility vehicle traveling over 80 miles per hour. The driver was intoxicated.

Onondaga County Deputy Sheriff Glenn Searles died from injuries he suffered when assisting a stranded motorist. A second car struck Deputy Searles, pinning him against his patrol vehicle.

“This legislation honors the memory of Trooper Ambrose and Deputy Searles, who lost their lives while serving the public. Thousands of law enforcement, fire personnel and emergency workers risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of New York State. Whether narrow, rural roads or multi-lane interstate highways, traffic stops are inherently dangerous. A foggy morning, a clear and sunny afternoon or a dark night with torrential rain or driving snow all offer little to protect an officer from oncoming traffic. Many drivers already make it a habit to change lanes when they see flashing lights ahead on the shoulder of the road. It has always been a prudent and courteous option," says Spike.

The new law obligates drivers to “move over” to the lane that is farthest from where the emergency vehicle is pulled over.

On single lane roads, drivers are required to slow down and take care to pass emergency vehicles at a safe distance. This applies to any emergency vehicle with its flashing lights on.

The consequences of not obeying this important new law include a $275 fine and points charged against one’s driver’s license.

“The patrol deputies of the Yates County Sheriff’s Office remain determined to impartially and respectfully enforce the law to protect the life and property of all county citizens,” says Spike.