John J. Bonacic

August 19, 2011

New law to protect individuals responding to emergency calls on parkways, expressways and highways

Legislation (S.2769-B) sponsored by State Senator John Bonacic (R/C/I – Mt Hope), which requires motorists to “move over” when approaching a tow truck on the side of highways, has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The legislation was introduced at the request of Wawarsing resident Matthew Parker.  Mr. Parker’s son, Kyle Parker, a tow truck operator,  was killed by a tractor trailer while Kyle was responding to a call from a motorist in 2003.   

“From tragedy, the Parker family took action, and now those who operate tow trucks along highways will be safer for it,” Senator Bonacic said.   

The Senate had repeatedly passed Bonacic’s bill only to see the Assembly version of the bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, fail to pass in that house.  This year, finally, the Assembly passed the legislation.  

“I really want to thank each and every individual who worked so hard to make this law a reality,” said Matthew Parker. “Construction workers, tow truck drivers and various other emergency responders risk their lives for us every single day, it only makes sense to take every possible measure to ensure their safety. Thank you, Senator Bonacic for continually introducing and passing this legislation in the Senate for 7 years; I am so glad that the Assembly finally got this legislation passed this year as well.” 

The new law will require drivers traveling on parkways, expressways and other controlled access highways to move over one lane when approaching or passing construction vehicles, tow trucks  or other “hazard vehicles” stopped on the road with their lights flashing. The law will provide an additional level of safety for these vehicles while they are performing their work-related duties, such as highway construction and maintenance, snow-removal or removing stranded or disabled vehicles.