VTL 1144(a) - Failed to Yield Right of Way to Emergency Vehicle

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.

VTL 1144(a) is about the requirement to move out of the way when an emergency vehicle is behind your vehicle. This statute is often confused with 1144aa (this has one “a” as opposed to two) but they involve two separate and distinct violations. 1144a is about the requirement to move out of the way with an emergency vehicle behind you while 11144aa is about the requirement to move over for an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road. If you received a ticket that lists one statute but involved alleged facts of another statute, your ticket should be dismissed entirely. Many courts and officers confuse the violations, so this is a frequent occurrence.

The following is the exact wording of the statute:

(a) "Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle equipped with at least one lighted lamp exhibiting red light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of five hundred feet to the front of such vehicle other than a police vehicle or bicycle when operated as an authorized emergency vehicle, and when audible signals are sounded from any said vehicle by siren, exhaust whistle, bell, air-horn or electronic equivalent; the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right of way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway, or to either edge of a one-way roadway three or more lanes in width, clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a police officer."

The statute is entirely clear on the requirements of the driver. Specifically, how the motorist should act when yielding is not a simple task under the circumstances. Often police officers take the failure to move over as a sign of disrespect and take it personally. The Benjamin Goldman Law Office has seen several tickets for this violation issued unfairly. Either way, our attorneys have had success in getting such charges thrown out or reduced to parking tickets. If you were charged with VTL 1144a, you can send the ticket to us for review. We provide motorists with free consultations.

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