WRVO – A recent AAA survey finds that a quarter of motorists don’t realize there is a law in New York State that requires drivers who see an emergency vehicle on the roadside, to slow down, and if possible change lanes. AAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey said even more don’t understand the danger of whizzing by vehicles on the side of the road
“And among those who say who’s broken the law, 42% said they didn’t think their behavior was risky or dangerous to roadside workers,” Carey said.
But it is. The state law was put in place in 2012 after a AAA technician was killed on Interstate 690 in Syracuse while attending to a disabled vehicle. State Police Troop A Spokesman James O’Callaghan said officers continue to respond to accidents involving vehicles that don’t follow the law. One thing that’s made the issue more deadly is distracted driving.
“We’re seeing distracted drivers not seeing the emergency vehicles, not seeing state police, not seeing disabled vehicles, and they are literally hitting the back of these cars, or hitting someone on the roadside,” O’Callaghan said.
State police continue to ticket drivers who don’t follow the law. Troopers issued 10,000 Move Over tickets last year, and 4,000 already this year.
There is a move in New York to extend the law beyond emergency vehicles, to disabled motorists on the side of the road. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates 566 people are killed every year, and 14,000 are injured when dealing with a disabled vehicle on the road.