New Yorkers will start the year off with much singing, dancing and celebrating; and a new law intended to make the roads safer for everyone.

New York already has a “move-over” law which requires drivers to move to the far lane and slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with flashing red lights stopped along the side of the road. This has resulted in a decrease in accidents involving emergency workings. The law is similar to laws which exist in several other states.

Unfortunately the law did not apply to vehicles which did not have flashing red lights, like tow trucks and construction vehicles. These vehicles are also required to stop along the side of the road, leaving their passengers susceptible to vehicles which do not yield.  Tow truck drivers and construction workers have each suffered their share of fatalities and injury as a result of careless drivers who do not move over.

Starting January 1, 2012, New York will expand the reach of the existing “move over” law to include vehicles with amber lights such as highway maintenance workers, construction workers and state HELP vehicles.

Drivers who violate the “move over” law can suffer steep consequences including a fine up to $250, court costs of $85 and a possible 15 day stay in jail. The driver might also receive an additional three points on their license.

An New York defensive driving course can help you get the points off your license, but nothing can restore a life lost due to careless driving.

Image: renjith krishnan /