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?