By Colleen Mahoney
A 2012 New York state law was recently amended to make streets safer for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Known as the “move over law,” the law now requires motorists to slow down and change lanes when they see blue or green flashing lights.
The changes were made to improve the safety of volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers who use their personal vehicles to respond to roadside emergencies. Their private vehicles, often fitted with blue or green lights, did not benefit from the 2012 language. The amendments were signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 21.
“Our first responders risk their lives day in and day out, often putting their own safety and well-being in jeopardy, in order to protect their communities and their fellow New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a press release. “This new law will help ensure that first responders are protected from avoidable hazards when responding to a roadside emergency.”
Motorists are now required to slow their vehicles down while passing emergency officials and volunteers on all roadways and to move into another lane on highways when safe to do so. Violators of the law can face a fine up to $275 and three points on their license.
Prior to the recent amendment, the move over law applied only to red, white and amber colored lights, which included police cars, emergency vehicles and maintenance or towing vehicles.