New York § VTL 1144-a: “Move Over” Law

General Information

The “Ambrose-Searles Move Over” law is designed to protect the safety of law enforcement and emergency workers along New York’s roadways. It is appropriately named after New York State Trooper Robert W. Ambrose and Deputy Sheriff Glenn Matthew Searles who were both struck and killed by vehicles while attending to motorists in the line of duty. It was signed into law by then-Governor David Patterson and came into effect on January 1, 2011. In 2012, the law was amended to include tow and service vehicle operators. When approaching these vehicles that are “stopped, parked or standing” on the shoulder of a roadway, drivers are required to:

  • Reduce speed
  • Move to an open lane (unless traffic or other hazards exist to prevent doing so safely)

You can read the full text of the law in Section 1144-a of the Laws of New York State or contact us if you have any questions about it. In most cases, you can have this charge reduced or dismissed completely (in Broome County). Other courts like, for example, the Bethlehem Town Court in Albany County, have policies of not reducing this ticket. We’ve found that every court takes the 1144-a tickets very seriously. And rightly so, as it is designed to keep officers and other workers safe while doing their job.

Fines & Other Penalties

  • 3 Points
  • $275 Fine (+ State Surcharge)

When it first came into effect in 2011, the Move Over law was only a 2 point violation. In exactly one year, the NY legislature and Governor Cuomo increased the DMV penalty to 3 points. The fine has remained steady at $275.

And remember, all it takes is two of these in any 18 month period – whether you have a New York license or not – to be issued a separate and additional fee (different from fine) from New York DMV called the Driver Assessment Fee. This is a separate issue, but like VTL 1144-a, it is a program supposedly designed to encourage safe driving. Assessment fees start at $300 and go up from there. Because local law enforcement take these so seriously, they can be difficult to deal with from an attorney and client’s side of the case. All this makes these one ticket you really don’t want to get.

Pulled Over For Not Moving Over?

We can help. Our expert Binghamton traffic lawyers not only understand the 1144-a law, but know the ins and outs of all the local traffic courts. So whether you got a ticket in the Chenango Town Court, Binghamton City Court, or Johnson City Village Court, our attorneys have already had personal experience dealing with the local prosecutors and justices with this particular violation. We help people save time and money and protect them from ruined reputations and what cold otherwise be a long and frustrating ordeal.

But I’m Innocent, I swear!

Ever since its implementation this law has been a bit controversial and, unlike speeding tickets, many drivers feel that they were ticketed falsely – either because they did move over or because there were unable to move over. If you are innocent and unwilling to accept a reduction to lesser charges, we are not afraid of taking your case as far as it needs to go. As you are considering what to do, just be sure to contact us as soon as possible, make sure to record everything you remember about the stop, and request a Supporting Deposition when answering your ticket.

Ken McCauley

Ken McCauley is the principal attorney at the Law Office of Ken McCauley where he practices criminal defense, V&T law, and makes appearances before the New York State Liquor Authority. He is also pioneering a new realm of tort law - internet harassment. Ken attended Albany Law School where he earned the honors of highest academic standing in Administrative Law. [Read my full bio]