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New York's 'Move Over' law about to expand, cover more emergency personnel

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Beginning Tuesday, January 17, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers will be covered under the same New York State law that requires motorists to make room for stopped police, emergency and service vehicles and staff.

What is formally known as the Ambrose-Searles Act requires drivers to slow down and move out of a lane to provide more space for police, emergency vehicles, tow trucks and service vehicles that are stopped at the side of the road. The only exception for not moving out of the lane is when traffic in other lanes make it impossible for the driver to change safely.

Drivers will be required to include stopped volunteer firefighters and rescue workers.

"These volunteer firefighters and first responders come to the aid of individuals in our community when they need it the most," said State Senator Tim Kennedy inside Doyle Hose Company No. 2 in Cheektowaga.

The law was named in memory of New York State Trooper Robert Ambrose and Onondaga County Sheriff's Deputy Glenn Searles, both of whom died in the line of duty after being struck by passing vehicles while assisting motorists at roadside. 

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan reminded those inside Doyle Hose Company No. 2 that there was also a local tragedy in recent years. State Trooper Kevin Dobson was fatally struck by a passing vehicle while on a traffic stop on Route 290 in 2011.

"We've seen way too many avoidable fatalities and they have a great impact on our community," said Ryan. "We believe the expansion of this law will reduce those fatalities for our first responders, all across the board."

Tow trucks are also covered under the law because they, too, are at risk. Late last month, a tow truck operator was killed when he was a hit by a passing car on I-95 in Harrison, Westchester County, while attempting to load a disabled vehicle on to his truck bed.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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