GARDEN CITY, NY (May 24, 2022) The approaching Memorial Day weekend will see more than 34 million hitting the road for a holiday trip of 50 miles or more. AAA estimates at least 388,000 of those vehicles will break down, putting the vehicle occupants in great danger. “Being broken down by the side of the road is more than an inconvenience, it is extremely dangerous,” said Robert Sinclair, Jr. of AAA Northeast. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that an average year will see 566 people killed and more than 14,000 injured when dealing with a disabled vehicle at the roadside. “There are numerous instances of motorists being struck and killed while trying to get their disabled vehicle back on the road, often when changing a flat tire,” Sinclair added.
Slow Down Move Over (SDMO) laws already apply to police, firefighters, tow truck drivers, road workers and sanitation personnel. Legislation sponsored by Senator Reichlin-Melnik and Assemblyman Zebrowski (S8258A/A1100A) would extend the law to civilians mandating that drivers slow well below the speed limit, and, if possible, change lanes to avoid disabled vehicles with flashing lights at the roadside.
Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said, “We must create safer roadways for all drivers including those experiencing an emergency on the side of the highway. The ‘move over’ law has been effective at protecting law enforcement and emergency vehicles and I urge my colleagues to join me in expanding that protection to prevent injuries and deaths of drivers in distress.”
“Too often motorists with disabled vehicles become the victims of crashes on our roadways. The current Slow Down/Move Over law requiring drivers to slow down and move over for emergency and hazard vehicles is an important measure to protect our first responders and roadside workers, but it does not apply to disabled vehicles. This bill will change that by requiring drivers move over for all vehicles stopped on our roadways, decreasing the chance for a collision and enhancing safety for drivers on the road with disabled vehicles. As we continue to see roadway fatalities increase, it is crucial that we pass this legislation to enhance safety,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.
Other states including Connecticut and Pennsylvania have extended SDMO protections to include motorists with disabled vehicles by the roadside.
AAA implores the New York State Legislature to pass into law this important lifesaving legislation.