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Route 17 in Nichols Named in Honor of Dennis ‘Matt’ Howe

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation Friday naming a portion of State Route 17 in Nichols, Tioga County, in honor of Dennis “Matt” Howe, an Owego resident and Department of Transportation Region 9 employee who was killed on the job in March. The legislation designates a portion of Route 17 as the “Dennis ‘Matt’ Howe Memorial Highway.”

“Matt Howe was a dedicated New York State employee and a beloved husband, father, son and colleague who tragically lost his life while serving the Empire State,” Cuomo said. “By designating a portion of State Route 17 in Mr. Howe’s name, we will help ensure his service to the state will be honored for decades to come.”

On March 13, Dennis “Matt” Howe was parked on the shoulder of Route 17 in a DOT truck with the lights flashing, alerting motorists to a road repair crew down the road. A tractor-trailer driver who failed to move over struck Matt’s truck, fatally injuring him. He died on March 18. The section of Route 17 where the accident occurred will be renamed to memorialize and honor Mr. Howe, according to a news release from Cuomo’s office.


New York’s Move Over law requires motorists to drive with care, slow down, and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, construction and maintenance vehicles that are stopped along roads across the state.

New York’s Move Over law was enacted in 2011 to protect New Yorkers working along the roadway and has since been expanded to include a wider range of emergency and hazard vehicles.

New York’s Move Over law was expanded in July 2016 to include volunteer firefighter and ambulance workers, previously applying only to law enforcement, emergency or hazard vehicles. The law now applies to vehicles with flashing blue, green, red, white, or amber lights. The expanded law gives law enforcement more authority to penalize violators who jeopardize the safety of those working along the highway. Motorists must exercise due care on all roads across New York State, and if it is safe to do so, move over one lane to provide adequate space for the vehicles and personnel working on the side of the road. On November 1, 2016, the Move Over law was further expanded to include sanitation vehicles such as garbage and recycling trucks.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee produced a Public Service Announcement in 2016 that continues to play across New York State, encouraging motorists to move over for law enforcement, highway workers, and other impacted entities.

Despite the change to the law and efforts to educate motorists, State Police continue to ticket those who violate the new law. Below are the ticket numbers for the past three years:

  • 2018: 13,059 
  • 2017: 13,173 
  • 2016: 11,703   

The Move Over law applies to both sides of the roadway, not just the shoulder on the right, and motorists caught in violation can face two points on their license and a minimum $150 fine for the first offense.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Press Office