More Reasons To 'Move Over'

By Kelly McCarthy

January 11, 2013 Updated Jan 12, 2013 at 12:42 PM EDT

Kirkwood, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new law leaves thousands of drivers in New York State with ticket violations. The "Move Over" law requires drivers to move away from stopped vehicles with flashing lights.

New York State Police Sgt. Jason Cawley knows firsthand why drivers should be reminded of the new "Move Over" law.

He's had more than his fair share of close calls out on the highway.

"Several years ago I was struck on the side of the highway, I was in the police vehicle which then got struck by a vehicle coming up from behind. It could have been avoided if the person exercised due care," Cawley said.

The law, which took effect in 2011, requires drivers to move over for police and emergency vehicles stopped along the roadside.

Last year, the law was extended to include all vehicles with flashing lights. The law was created to keep public safety officers safe at work.

"Since last year through some enforcement efforts we've gotten the word out. Vehicles are now moving over more it seems to the lane away from the trooper," Cawley said.

Troop C covers the Binghamton area, and police there say more drivers are becoming aware of the law and move over when they can.

"The problem is less prevalent now however everybody in the state police barracks at least here in Binghamton have been affected in one way or another. Multiple troopers here have been struck from behind while aiding a traffic stop or aiding a citizen on the side of the road," Cawley said.

Although awareness is on the rise, state police say it's still a problem. Troop C issued more than 800 ticket violations in the past year.

"Some say they don't know, most say they were unable to get over," Cawley said.

More than 11,000 tickets were handed out last year to drivers across the state.

Cawley said he's always aware of the dangers of doing his job along the side of the road, as traffic whizzes by.

"I've looked over my shoulder to see a car partially onto the shoulder driving towards the stop that I'm at. It always causes your heart to skip a beat," Cawley said.

The law is intended to protect both law enforcement and the public, Cawley said.

"From the moment that the traffic stop is started until the moment you release the operator and they're back on the highway, that person's safety is in our hands," he said.

A ticket for the "Move Over" law is a moving violation. Those convicted face three license points, $275 fine and up to 15 days in jail.