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State’s Move-Over Law extended to firefighters, ambulances

A modified state law will have motorists reaching for their turn signal more often.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday signed legislation expanding the state’s “Move-Over” Law to include volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.

The law, originally passed in 2011, requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane, if possible, when approaching a police car with flashing red and white lights. It was later expanded to include hazard vehicles displaying amber lights, including tow trucks.

Cuomo, in a statement, said the latest amendment to the law “will help ensure that first responders are protected from avoidable hazards when responding to a roadside emergency.”

“Our first responders risk their lives day in and day out, often putting their own safety and well-being in jeopardy, in order to protect their communities and their fellow New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

First-time violations of the law are punishable by a fine of up to $150, 15 days in jail or both, as well as two points on a driver’s license, a Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman said.

John D’Alessandro, secretary for the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, said called the change a “natural extension” of the Move-Over law that will provide “an extra buffer zone of safety for emergency responders” as they attend to victims in a car accident.

“The natural tendency is for people to want to look ... You’ve got police. You’ve got firefighters trying to extricate someone from a vehicle,” D’Alessandro said. “It’s sort of the perfect storm for somebody to be hurt beyond the original accident.”

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