Local news sources report that a passing motorist struck and killed a trooper as he was writing another motorist a traffic ticket on the shoulder of Interstate 290 near the town of Tonawanda.
This is every traffic cop’s nightmare. And mine, too. As a Central and Syracuse New York car accident lawyer who has represented several police officers and deputy sheriffs struck by negligent motorists, I am particularly sensitive to the risks our law enforcement officers voluntarily assume every working day to protect the rest of us from law breaking motorists.
There they are, hunched over the driver’s window of a stopped car on the shoulder of the roadway, within inches of the roadway itself, exposed to the risk of distracted drivers running them over. I always worry about how close some of the vehicles are passing by. These police officers risk their lives every time they write a ticket! Fortunately, most, but not all, passing motorists have the common sense to slow down and move over to the left to give the guy some space.
This case brings to the fore a new New York law, called the Ambrose-Searles Move-Over Act (effective as of January 1, 2011) that requires drivers to slow down (to 20 mph’s below the posted speed limit) and change lanes if possible when approaching an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. I’ll bet this is something you did anyway, right? That’s because it’s common sense. But until recently, no New York law required you to take this precautionary measure.
Ever seen those signs in highway construction zones that say, “Give’m a brake”? Well, when you see a traffic cop doing his job on the side of the road, slow down, and “give’m some room”.
Keep cops safe!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.