While New Jersey’s Move Over Law, legislation enacted to protect roadside emergency workers, was signed into law more than five years ago on January 27, 2009, there are still many in our state who are either unaware of the law and its requirements or neglect to follow it.
The law requires that operators of motor vehicles – whether passenger vehicles or commercial trucks – must reduce their speed and change lanes when approaching vehicles with emergency lights. These vehicles include police, fire and medical services as well as highway maintenance, tow trucks and other official motorist aid vehicles with amber emergency lights. If possible to safely do so, vehicles must move over a lane to allow for an empty lane between traveling traffic and the emergency vehicle. If moving over is not a safe possibility, drivers must slow down to a speed below the posted limit before passing the emergency vehicles.
“Motorists approaching stationery flashing lights, whether an ambulance, police, fire or tow truck, must heed the warning and safely move over to another lane, or slow down below the posted speed limit,” then Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer said at the time the legislation was passed. “Remember, emergency responders are there to help. Give them the space they need, so they can work safely.”
New Jersey was the 44th state in the US to pass a Move Over Law.
According to Move Over America, more than 150 law enforcement officers were killed after being struck by vehicles along American highways from 1999 to 2010.
Violations can cost between $100 and $500 in fines. But even greater than the cost of the fines that can result from failure to abide by this law, is the cost of the lives that can be taken.
For more information about the Move Over Law, visit nj.gov/oag/hts/move-over-law/.