2009 Measure Requires Drivers to Slow Down, Change Lanes upon Approaching Emergency Vehicles
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats John Wisniewski, Nancy Pinkin, Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling sponsored to help protect law enforcement officers, highway workers and others whose work requires them to exit a vehicle on New Jersey’s high-speed roadways cleared the legislature with approval on Friday in the Senate, 32-0.
“The loss of Trooper Sean Cullen last year was a tragic reminder of how important it is for drivers to slow down and change lanes as they approach an emergency vehicle on the side of the road,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. “Only if drivers understand and abide by it can the ‘Move Over’ law serve its purpose, which is to keep men and women safe while they’re on the job.”
The bill (A-2439) would require the commissioner of the Department of Transportation to work to increase observance of the New Jersey Move Over Law via public awareness programs and electronic message road signs. The 2009 law requires motorists to reduce their speed and change lanes when approaching authorized vehicles displaying emergency lights. Failure to slow down or move over is punishable by a fine of $100 to $500.
“Emergency responders go into some of the most dangerous situations on New Jersey’s roads. While their full attention is on doing everything possible to save someone’s life, the rest of us have a responsibility to look out for them and take steps to ensure their safety,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “It doesn’t take much to press the brakes and switch lanes, but being vigilant and doing so can save lives.”
“Our state has an obligation to protect those who risk their lives out on the roadside, whether they’re responding to a traffic accident or repairing the pavement,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “Just like previous campaigns that reminded drivers to share the road with motorcyclists and to wear their seat belts, this campaign will help people remember to use caution while they’re behind the wheel.”
“New Jersey’s first responders, construction workers, sanitation workers and others who regularly have to go in and out of a vehicle on the road are exposed to a lot of danger during the course of the average workday,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Increasing awareness of the ‘Move Over’ law can help reduce the risk of them being hurt.”
“Every driver on the road has a role to play in ensuring the safety of those who are working to serve our state,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “Better understanding of the ‘Move Over’ law can save lives.”
The bill was approved by the Assembly, 77-1, on June 29. It will now go to the Governor for further consideration.