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'Slow Down/Move Over Law' expansion takes effect


Mon, Mar 25th 2024 09:15 am

AAA: Drivers need to prepare for new requirement aimed at protecting them

By AAA of Western and Central New York

A new law expanding New York’s “Slow Down/Move Over” requirement will take effect on Wednesday, March 27. The expansion includes disabled vehicles on the roadside requiring drivers to exercise caution when approaching them in an effort to protect motorists.

AAA supported legislation for the expanded law as research shows drivers are at risk when their vehicle breaks down. From 2015-21, nationwide, 2,474 pedestrians were struck and killed by moving automobiles while outside a disabled vehicle, including 48 in New York.

All 50 states have a form of the “Slow Down/Move Over Law” that requires drivers to slow down and change lanes, if safely possible, when they encounter a vehicle with flashing lights stopped at the roadside. New York’s law has existed since 2010 – it is expanding to cover disable vehicles along with police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and road construction/maintenance vehicles. This expanded law is now in effect in 22 states.

AAA has been a longtime supporter of education and advocacy efforts to protect roadside workers. From 2015-21, 125 police officers, 123 tow truck operators and more than 250 highway workers across the nation were struck and killed by passing vehicles.

To help stem the rising tide of needless deaths at the roadside, last year the New York State Legislature passed, and Gov. Hochul signed, a bill that expands the protections of the “Slow Down/Move Over Law” to include disabled vehicles.

With the expanded law set to take effect, Tony Spada, President and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York, cited new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which shows that 84% of roadside crashes occur in good weather without precipitation or slippery road conditions.

“Many of these crashes can be avoided if drivers focus on driving, and observe the law by slowing down and moving over when they see a disabled vehicle or any roadside activity for that matter,” he said. “AAA reminds drivers to give space to anyone on the roadside. It’s imperative to save innocent lives.”

The legislation was sponsored by new York State Sen. Lea Webb and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and “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.”

Spada noted motorists need to follow the law for it to be effective.

After the state government runs an educational campaign, AAA New York State will launch a secondary effort to raise awareness among drivers across the state this spring. AAA New York State represents five AAA clubs with 2.8 million members in New York.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 860,000 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.

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