Drivers recognized for safety as ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ legislation awaits governor’s signature
By AAA of Western and Central New York
As new legislation expanding New York’s “Move Over” law is on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk, AAA has announced its Drivers of the Year in honor of a AAA tow technician who was killed on the roadside when a driver failed to “Slow Down, Move Over.”
Once signed into law by the governor, the expansion of New York’s “Slow Down/Move Over” requirement will include 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. AAA supported the legislation in an effort to save lives.
Every year, AAA Western and Central New York recognizes Drivers of the Year based on accomplishments from the previous calendar year. Also known as the Marty Taylor Recognition Award, in honor of a AAA tow technician who was killed in the line of duty by a driver who failed to “Slow Down, Move Over,” the awards are presented to two AAA technicians in each of two fleet operations – Western New York and Central New York. The winners must exhibit outstanding customer service skills, an impeccable safety record, and a commitment to teamwork.
This year, the four recipients of the Marty Taylor Recognition Award are Jacob Schaich and Eric Rogers in Western New York, and Josiah Shortsleeve and James Malelis in Central New York.
Debbie Taylor, widow of the award’s namesake who works for AAA in Syracuse, spoke at the award ceremony, and expressed her appreciation for this year’s winners.
Marty Taylor was a AAA tow technician who was killed on the roadside on Route 690 in Syracuse while performing a vehicle recovery 18 years ago. Marty’s legacy lives on in AAA Western and Central New York’s commitment to operational excellence and raising awareness of the “Slow Down, Move Over” campaign.
Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that 42% of drivers, who admit to breaking the “Move Over” law, say they didn’t realize the behavior was dangerous to roadside workers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that 566 people are killed and more than 14,000 injured annually when dealing with a disabled vehicle at the roadside.
“We urge the governor to sign the ‘Move Over’ legislation into law to protect both roadside workers and motorists,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations for AAA Western and Central New York.
“This award is a heartfelt tribute is named after one of our own, Marty Taylor, whose life ended way too soon in a tragic incident while servicing a member,” said Tony Spada, president and CEO at AAA Western and Central New York. “Only the best of the best achieve this level of recognition.”
In presenting the Marty Taylor Recognition Award, AAA Western and Central New York spotlighted two technicians and two senior technicians for their safety accomplishments.
Western New York:
•Jacob Schaich Sr., Roadside Technician of the Year, began his career with AAA Western New York fleet operations in July 2020. His commitment to his craft is shown daily in Jacob’s work ethic and safety. His efforts extend well beyond roadside operations, and Jacob is a strong supporter of the “Slow Down, Move Over” law. Jacob, who lives in Newfane, was named Senior Technician of the Month three times in 2022, responding to 971 road service calls with zero safety violations or member complaints.
•Eric Rogers, Roadside Technician of the Year, began his career with AAA Western New York fleet operations in December 2017. A true team player, he also serves as a mentor driver to help train new hires. Eric is a key player in process improvement, continually testing new products, tools and procedures. Eric was named Technician of the Month five times in 2022 and responded to 1,872 road service requests with zero safety violations or member complaints. Eric lives in East Aurora, and this is his fourth consecutive award.
Central New York:
Josiah Shortsleeve Sr., Roadside Technician of the Year, began his career with AAA Central New York fleet operations in October 2020. There is no situation that Josiah cannot handle to assure total member satisfaction daily. A true team player, he can always be counted on to help a fellow teammate in need and help AAA to become the undisputed leader in roadside assistance. Josiah, who lives in Mattydale, was named Senior Technician of the Month three times in 2022 and completed 1,503 road service requests with zero safety violations or complaints.
James Malelis, Light Service Technician of the Year, began his career with AAA Central New York fleet operations in March 2010. His positive attitude is infectious, continually receiving accolades from members and teammates, and his commitment to safety is without compromise. James, who lives in Clay, was named Technician of the Month five times in 2022, and completed 1,711 road service requests with zero safety violations or complaints. This is his fourth consecutive award.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.