Lifesaving legislation will protect drivers on the roadside
Submitted by AAA
A new requirement heads to Gov. Hochul’s desk to be signed into law, which expands New York’s “Slow Down/Move Over” law. The expansion includes disabled vehicles that are parked on the shoulder of a controlled access highway or parkway, requiring drivers to exercise caution when approaching a disabled vehicle.
The legislation (S5129-A/A1077-A), sponsored by State Sen. Lea Webb (52nd Senate District) and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (Assembly District 96), “Requires an operator of a motor vehicle to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a vehicle which is parked, stopped, or standing on the shoulder of a parkway or controlled-access highway.”
Elizabeth Carey, spokesperson for AAA Western and Central New York said that she was confident that this law will save many lives.
AAA applauds members of the Assembly and the Senate for supporting this effort spearheaded by Webb and Zebrowski.
“I am proud that we were able to work with our partners at AAA to get this legislation passed,” Webb said. “This bill will decrease the numbers of fatalities and serious injuries that occur due to crashes involving a stopped or disabled vehicle on our roadways.”
According to New York state law, drivers must use due care, reduce speed and, when possible, move from the lane, when approaching flashing emergency lights, including law enforcement officers, emergency workers, tow and service operators, and other maintenance workers who are stopped along roadways.
“When signed into law, this legislation will extend these safety protections to any motor vehicle that is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder of a parkway or controlled-access highway, increasing safety and saving the lives of New Yorkers,” Webb said.
Zebrowski said, "The current ‘Slow Down/Move Over Law’ has helped keep first responders and roadside workers safe, but expanding this law to disabled vehicles will further improve safety on our roads. Requiring drivers to move over for any disabled vehicle will decrease the chances of a collision, making roads safer for everyone. I am proud to have passed this bill in the Assembly, and hope to see it signed into law."
At least 17 other states, including Maryland and Connecticut, already have laws enacted to protect stranded drivers from being struck on the roadside. Similar legislation was recently signed by the governor in Rhode Island.
According to AAA analysis of data obtained from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 1,703 people were struck while outside of a disabled vehicle in the U.S. from 2016-20. Thirty-seven of those were fatalities that occurred right here in New York state.
“AAA has worked tirelessly to educate lawmakers and the public about the importance of protecting individuals on the roadside. With drivers increasing their speed, more distracted driving and more impaired driving occurring on our roads, this new law will help save lives,” said John Corlett, spokesperson for AAA Northeast.
Once signed by the governor, this new law will go into effect in 180 days.
AAA New York State represents five AAA clubs with 2.8 million members.