Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Move Over

It has been nearly a year since the NYS Move Over Law took effect.
In the past couple of days, there have been a couple of articles about the law being changed, to take effect on Jan 1st 2012.

The new law will include a requirement to move over for ANY flashing lights, not just emergency vehicles. If it is not possible to change lanes, the driver must slow down. This means tow trucks and utility vehicles will now have added protection.  Works for me.

This is one of those things that makes me wonder about what people are thinking.

I've always moved over a lane, when possible, whenever there is a vehicle on the side of the road. I don't care what kind of vehicle it is, I'll give it room, just as I would for a pedestrian or bicycle or whatever. Why would anyone NOT do that? Probably for the same reasons they don't pull over for emergency vehicles, and I don't understand that, either.

I bet there are very few of us who don't know anyone who has been hit, or come close to it.

Just a couple of days ago, I got into a conversation with someone about the Move Over law- and he had never heard of it. I wasn't terribly surprised, since no one seems to be making a big effort around here to be sure people are aware of it. Not the original law, and not this new addition to it. I know about it because it affects me, and information about it is on my radar, so to speak. But the average person? Not so much.

There was somewhere I drove to in the last year that had great signs- the overhead kind with LED lettering, that reminded people of the law. But other than that (and I don't recall where that was) I haven't seen anything that would remind your average driver out there. Until it is common knowledge, it's not going to make much difference in anyone's behavior. I certainly wouldn't count on it happening if I'm in the road on scene.

I don't have a solution for this, though. What would be the best way to be sure every driver knows about the law? New drivers might have it in the manual they can pick up at the DMV, but who else ever reads those? No one. What other mechanisms are in place to get that information (or info about any new law) out to the people who need to know about it?

Newspaper articles don't reach people who don't read, and there are a LOT of those.
Information online doesn't reach anyone without internet access, and there are a lot of those, too.

I can't help but think that the people who are least likely to find out about the law are the ones who most need to know about it.

Any ideas for how to spread the word?
Any thoughts on how to encourage compliance?

What would the average person respond to?


  1. Where I'm from, any driving law changes are advertised everywhere for months in advance. Newspaper, television and radio. So much so that you can't not know about it!

  2. When Texas first got the MoveOver Law in 2003, we had a lot of commercials about it. And people were ticketed and it made the news. Snopes has a little review of all the states with the law, including the example that we saw with cops pointing radar guns from cars pulled over on the side. I think because they (the police) wanted safer space for when they pull over people, they went all out to make it known.
    As for the average person...idk. Maybe ask all the EMT's to write letters tot he editor asking people to PLEASE pay attention to the law. Talk to the news station about coming out to do a piece from the perspective of the first responders wrt the new law.
    Put up signs like Garage sale signs...people look at those!
    I hope the roads are safer for you, Linda!

  3. I meant to add this, in case you wanted to read it:

  4. Thanks, Sue.
    We're in a little bubble out here, really. There isn't anywhere that people could pull over TO, so it won't really make a difference in this tiny town, unless people do slow down. I don't really expect that to happen, law or no law. There has long been a law about pulling over for emergency vehicles, and that is mostly ignored.
    We also don't have a newspaper or news station here, but those are good ideas to pass on to people who have them. We have a little newsletter thing, and I can write up an article for that, and will.
    Anonymous- sounds like they have it together where you live! I'm envious.

  5. Don't you still have to get a yearly car inspection in NYS? Why not require the car registrant to read, and sign acknowledging that they have read, a piece of paper explaining the law, before they can get their new inspection sticker?