Last year, New York troopers gave out 16,000 tickets for violating VTL 1144-a. More tickets can be expected this year with the newly amended New York Move Over Law extending the obligation to amber lights such as construction vehicles and tow trucks now in effect.
One obvious result of enforcement of VTL 1144-a is rapid accumulation of points on the driver record; and this can unknowingly lead to a suspension of driving privileges.
On January 1, 2011, New York began enforcing its original Move Over Law. The law mandates that drivers use caution to avoid an accident when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped or standing on the shoulder of a road with its emergency lights flashing. In a multi-lane highway, a driver must slow down and move over to create a safe distance for the emergency vehicle. In a single lane road, VTL 1144-a requires motorists to slow down and exercise caution.
The newly expanded New York Move Over Law effective January 1, 2012 applies the same caution requirements to tow trucks, HELP trucks and any vehicles being used in the construction or maintenance of roadways.
Tow truck operators and highway construction workers have almost unanimously voiced their support for the new New York Move Over Law. Tow truck drivers express concern about having to watch their backs while working and that oftentimes it can be quite frightening on the road.
Motorists violating the amended New York Move Over Law face a fine of up to $275 plus court surcharge and a possible jail sentence of up to 15 days. Violators may also have three points tacked onto their driving record.
Three points on a driving record is not significant…unless the driver has already been issued a couple of speeding tickets. Eleven points for traffic violations in 18 months may result in the New York Department of Motor Vehicles suspending your driver’s license – usually for 31 days.
Let’s take an example:
Last year, you received a speeding ticket for driving 72 mph in a 55-mph zone. This is 4 points on your driving record. A few months later, you were issued a ticket for rolling through a stop sign – 2 points. While driving on the New York Thruway, you were ticketed for talking on your cell phone while driving — another 3 points. At this point you have amassed 9 points on your driving record in 18 months.
If you are convicted for violating VTL 1144-a, then you may lose your driving privileges for month as well as a hefty fine.