To better protect law enforcement officers in the line of duty, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to revise penalties for violations of New Jersey’s “Move Over Law” was approved Monday by the full Assembly by a vote of 73-0.
The “Move Over Law” was created in response to the tragic death of Trooper Marc Castellano, who was struck and killed by a driver who failed to move over for his service vehicle. Under the law, motorists must reduce the speed and change lanes when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle, tow or highway maintenance truck, and emergency or sanitation service vehicle that has its flashing, blinking or alternating emergency lights on.
“Violators of the “Move Over Law” are putting officers at serious risk of injury or death, and they must understand that the severity of their actions,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This bill shows how seriously we take the safety of our state’s brave police officers.”
The bill (A-3890) would require a driver who fails to abide by the “Move Over Law” three or more times in a 12 month period to incur two motor vehicle points on their driver’s license. Accumulating points may result in additional penalties, including surcharges and license suspension.
Currently, violators of the “Move Over Law” are subject to a fine between $100 and $500.
Since Trooper Castellano’s passing, four Manchester Township Police Officers were struck on State Highway 37, and a Brick Township Police Officer’s patrol car was hit while an officer was inside the vehicle. Both incidents were the result of drivers failing to move over.
“We want to do everything we can to protect our state’s law enforcement officers,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “By penalizing individuals who violate the state’s “Move Over Law” with points, they will understand that this is not an issue we in New Jersey take lightly.”
Additionally, the measure requires the Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety to establish a public awareness campaign for the importance of “Move Over Law.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.