Have you heard of the Move Over Law in New Jersey? If not, and you drive, it's a good idea to understand what this law is. For starters, the law was enacted in 2009 in an effort to provide better protection for law enforcement and other emergency personnel, including tow truck operators, who are operating at emergency scenes on the roads of the state.
The law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle that has its red, blue, or combination of red and blue lights activated to slow down to 25 MPH or safely move to a lane away from the emergency vehicle. The lane change should only occur if it can be done safely and if it is allowed by law. Be prepared to stop if you cannot change lanes.
The Move Over Law protects any authorized emergency vehicle that is operated by a police department, ambulance service, or fire department.
New Jersey also requires drivers to change lanes or slow down for stationary tow trucks or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicles. These trucks have amber lights that flash. The same rules apply for drivers approaching these vehicles that have their lights activated and are sitting stationary on the road.
Violators of this law face fines ranging from $100 to $500.
The Move Over Law was created with the goal of reducing the number of injuries and deaths to emergency personnel on the roads of the state when working on incidents or making traffic stops.
Despite this law, there have been tragic accidents involving emergency personnel in New Jersey since it was enacted in 2009. One of those accidents took the life of Cinnaminson native Sean Cullen, a New Jersey State Trooper, in March 2016 at the age of 31.
Cullen was on the scene of a car fire on 295 in West Deptford when he was struck by a passing vehicle. Cullen graduated from the State Police Academy in August 2014.
The next time you see emergency lights (especially during the holiday season) when driving, please move over one lane away from the emergency vehicle or slow down to 25 MPH to help protect those who protect and serve you.
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