(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are sponsoring a bill that would impose motor vehicle penalty points for violations of the state’s “Move Over” law.
The Move Over law requires motorists to move over, when possible, when they spot service vehicles including police cars, firetrucks and tow trucks with flashing lights.
The bill was inspired by Donna Setaro and her tireless campaign to raise awareness about New Jersey’s Move Over law. Setaro’s son, New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano, was struck and killed while standing on the shoulder of Route 195 in 2010. Setaro has since brought her “Move Over AwaReness Campaign,” or MARC, to thousands of people all over the state, and last month reached her personal goal of spreading her message to 100,000 people.
“People may not realize the importance of the Move Over law until tragedy strikes. Officer Castellano paid for this mistake with his life,” said Houghtaling, who introduced the bill. “There is good reason why this law is on the books. Adding points to a person’s driver’s record as a consequence of violating the Move Over law will strengthen the law and its consequences.”
“The Move Over law is very straightforward and yet people continue to break it, putting themselves and others in danger,” said Downey. “No one wants points on their driving records. Toughening the penalty will send a clear message to motorists about the importance of the law and serve as a better deterrent against distracted driving, which is the main cause of crashes in the state.”
Under New Jersey’s “Move Over” law, drivers are required to reduce the speed of their vehicles and change lanes when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck or highway maintenance, emergency service or sanitation vehicle that is displaying flashing, blinking or alternating emergency lights. Violators are subject to a fine of between $100 and $500.
The bill (A-3890) would require two motor vehicle penalty points to be assessed when a motor vehicle operator violates the “move over” law. The accumulation of motor vehicle penalty points may result in additional penalties, including the imposition of surcharges and a license suspension.
“I want to thank Mrs. Setaro for bringing this issue to the forefront and for her efforts, which are self-funded, to educate the public about the Move Over law,” said Houghtaling. “Between her advocacy and our proposal to strengthen the law, we can get motorists to comply with the Move Over Law, and hopefully we can prevent the next family the pain that her family has endured.”
“Mrs. Setaro took it upon herself to raise awareness of the Move Over law to make young people in particular aware of the serious consequences that breaking this law can have. This bill honors her advocacy and the life of her son, which was tragically cut short,” said Downey. “I am optimistic that we’ll be able to get this through both houses and eventually to the governor to sign.”