Drivers must move over: Law in honor of deputy killed in line of duty

Glenn Searles

Drivers should prepare to pull over into the other lane when they see a police car stopped on the side of the road.

Starting January 1st, drivers must move over and slow down. It's part of a new law passed in memory of two officers who died in the line of duty, include Onondaga County Sheriff's Deputy Glenn Searles.

"This law will work to safeguard the emergency personnel who protect us day and night as we travel," said Governor David Paterson. "The 'Ambrose-Searles Act' is a common sense approach that will work to prevent avoidable collisions with emergency personnel."

The Ambrose-Searles 'Move Over Act' requires drivers to exercise care and slow down to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency vehicle which is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder of a road or highway with its emergency lights activated. On parkways, interstates, and highways with multiple lanes, drivers are also required to move from the lane immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle, unless traffic or other hazards exist to prevent doing so safely.

"The highway is one of the most dangerous environments faced by law enforcement," said State Police Acting Superintendent John P. Melville. "Unfortunately, too many motorists either ignore or fail to perceive the dangers associated with driving too close to emergency vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road. We hope that by informing the public of this new law and vigorously enforcing its provisions, we will be able to improve safety for emergency professionals who work in these hazardous conditions."

The law is named after Onondaga County Sheriff's deputy Glenn Searles and State Trooper Robert Ambrose who were both killed while their patrol vehicles were stopped on the side of the road.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, since 1999, there have been more than 160 law enforcement officers killed in the United States, struck by vehicles while on duty along highways.

A violation of this law is a punishable by a fine of up to $275, plus mandatory court surcharges. It will also result in two points on the driver's license record.