On February 4, Wantagh resident and Nassau County Police Officer Michael J. Califano was killed when a flatbed truck plowed into his patrol car, which was pulled over to conduct a traffic law stop on the westbound side of the Long Island Expressway at exit 39 in Old Westbury. Califano’s tragic death illustrates the importance of the “Move Over” law that went into effect across New York State on January 1, 2011. This new law requires all drivers to slow down when they see an emergency vehicle and move over if they are on a multi-lane highway, as long as it is safe to do so.
The Searles-Ambrose Move Over Act was created to protect the law officers who risk their lives every day to keep our highways safe. In the past decade, more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers were struck and killed along America’s highways. Common sense would tell drivers at the very least to slow down when they see flashing lights at the side of the road. On a highway, it may be difficult to see emergency workers and officers on the side of the road. Moving over when red lights are flashing ensures the safely of these responders.
It’s tragic that Califano’s death was completely avoidable. The 12-year veteran left behind his wife, Jackie, and their three young children, Michael, 13, Christopher, 11, and Andrew, 6.
Signs along the highways have been flashing the new law to educate drivers. Ignorance of the law is no excuse!
At Goldstein and Bashner, we’ve been representing car accident victims for more than 40 years. If you have any questions about a car accident, contact our experienced attorneys for a free case evaluation We’ll answer all your questions, guide you through the process, and help make sure you collect the compensation you deserve.