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Audio and video: New traffic law aims to protect police, other emergency responders

A new law goes into effect Jan. 1 that will require drivers to exercise "due care" when approaching police and other emergency vehicles pulled over on the side of the road.

Dubbed the "Move Over Law," the measure is intended to get drivers to use caution and move from the traffic lane closest to the shoulder when a vehicle -- including ambulances and fire trucks -- is stopped and is flashing its red and white lights.

If a driver can't move out of the lane because of other traffic, the driver is required to slow down.

The law applies to drivers using all types of roadways in the state.

Here's State Police Sgt. David Martek, traffic supervisor for Troop A, giving a general overview of the new law:

Listen to Martek explain the rationale behind it:

Drivers who violate the law will be ticketed. The first conviction for this offense carries a minimum $275 fine. A second conviction requires a minimum $600 fine, while a third conviction within three years mandates a minimum $750 fine. Mandatory court surcharges will also be added to the fine.

The punishment allowed by the law is the stiffest of any driving law, aside from drunk driving laws, Martek said.

The law does not apply when drivers approach other vehicles with flashing lights, like snow plows or tow trucks.

Officially known as the Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act, it is named in honor of State Trooper Robert W. Ambrose and Onondaga County Sheriff's Deputy Glenn M. Searles, both of whom were killed in the line of duty while their vehicles were stopped on the side of the road.

The state has produced a public service announcement regarding the new law:

--Aaron Besecker

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