Many visitors are unaware of state’s Move Over Law
I’m an author originally from the Town of Tonawanda, and was in Western New York for a book tour when tragedy nearly struck a state trooper and myself.
On March 4 at about 7:45 p.m., I was driving in moderately heavy traffic on the Thruway in unfamiliar territory. Up ahead, I saw the flashing lights of a police vehicle. As I got closer, I was nearly blinded by the flashing lights, however, I drove by without incident in the slow lane.
Shortly afterward, the trooper pulled me over and was quite angry, rightly so, saying I could have killed him. I had no idea what he was talking about, because a) as I passed I didn’t see him standing on the driver’s side of the car since I was paying attention to driving and the GPS, and b) being from California, I assumed he would be standing on the passenger side, as law enforcement officers usually do in California.
I handed him my driver’s license, he explained the law and we parted ways with my apology, but this situation could have been deadly because I didn’t know about the law. A few potentially lifesaving suggestions:
Place banners or electronic message boards in the arriving passenger concourses at the airport, advising visitors of the law and offering a website URL for details.
Rental car agencies, perhaps in association with AAA, should inform drivers verbally and in the rental car paperwork. No one at the rental agency informed me.
Have hotels, tourist booking agencies, sports stadiums and concert and convention center venues include info about the law on their websites and reservation info.
I know ignorance of the law is not a legal defense, but that concept doesn’t matter much after a preventable tragedy.