How To Avoid Getting a Ticket Under the New 'Move Over' Law

NY Vehicle and Traffic Law ยง 1144-a

***AMENDED as of January 1, 2012:


            Effective January 1, 2012, the New York State ‘Move Over’ Law was amended to include all hazard vehicles, in addition to emergency, law enforcement, fire, and rescue vehicles.[1]  Under the law, “hazard vehicles”, include any vehicle displaying “one or more amber lights […] visible to all approaching traffic under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of five hundred feet.” 


            Additionally, during daylight hours, amber lights are not required to be displayed by hazard vehicles, “provided at least two red flags visible from a distance of five hundred feet are placed both in or on the front of, and to or on the rear of the vehicle and two such flags are placed to each side of the vehicle open to traffic.”[2]


            Therefore, a motorist should slow down when approaching any type of vehicle that is parked, stopped, or standing on the side of a highway, and move over from the lane containing or immediately adjacent to that vehicle, when it is safe to do so.


            Failure to slow down and/or move over may result in a ticket under this section of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which carries a fine of not less than $250.00 nor more than $400.00 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both such fine and imprisonment.

            Furthermore, conviction of a violation of Section 1144-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law carries 2 POINTS from the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Therefore, you should immediately consult an attorney if you are ticketed for this, or any New York State traffic infraction.

            The Law Office of Lorenzo Napolitano is experienced in handling any type of traffic violation, and works aggressively for its clients in getting tickets reduced or dismissed, saving you time, money, and points on your license. 

Please call (585) 325-4445 for a free consultation.

(read below if you would like additional information about New York’s “Move Over” Law, that originally went into effect on January 1, 2011)


            On January 1, 2011, Section 1144-a of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law went into effect.  This section, also known as the “Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act” requires motorists to exercise due care when approaching an emergency vehicle that is parked, stopped, or standing on the shoulder of a road or highway when its emergency lights are on.[3]  Also, when travelling on a highway with multiple lanes, drivers are required to move over from the lane that contains or is immediately adjacent to the shoulder where the emergency vehicle is located.[4]


            What does this mean for the average driver?  Aside from the obvious safety concerns, it is mostly likely a new way of being issued a traffic ticket, incurring points on your license, and paying unwanted fines.  A ticket under this section would incur a 2 point violation on your license, as well as a high fine and mandatory State surcharge.  However, if you happen to be stopped for this violation, the police officer may issue you additional tickets, such as Improper Passing (3 points), Unsafe lane change (3 points), or even Reckless Driving (5 points).[5]


            Therefore, the absolute best way to avoid getting a ticket under this section would be to safely slow down to a speed below the posted limit and to move over to the lane as far away from the emergency vehicle as possible.  However, if you do happen to be ticketed under this section, or with any violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, then you should consult an experienced attorney who can advocate for a reduction or dismissal of your ticket.

[1] New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1144-a, paragraph (b).  See also,

[2] Id.

[3] New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1144-a, available at

[4] Id.

[5] FindLaw, Slow Down for New York Emergency Vehicles or Risk a Ticket, available at