NJ Drivers Reminded To Move Over When They See Flashing Lights

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STATE – New Jersey motorists should be aware of a law to promote roadside safety that took effect last year.

The law requires motor vehicle operators to reduce their speed and change lanes when approaching authorized vehicles displaying emergency lights.  Such vehicles include police, fire and medical services vehicles, and also highway maintenance, tow trucks and official motorist aid vehicles displaying amber emergency lights.

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Where possible, drivers are required to move over to create an empty lane next to the emergency vehicle.  When safely changing lanes is not possible, drivers must slow down below the posted speed limit prior to passing emergency vehicles. Drivers should also be prepared to stop, if necessary.
Fines for violating this law range from $100 to $500.

“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,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer. “Remember, emergency responders are there to help.  Give them the space they need, so they can work safely.”

Major Matt Walker, who commands troopers on the Turnpike, has seen more than a few troopers and patrol vehicles hit by passing motorists.  He outlined the risks that workers face while serving the public at roadside emergencies.

“New Jersey contains some of the busiest highways in the nation,” said Walker.  “This law is a critical step in protecting the very workers that are protecting all motorists.  But the second and most important step involves drivers obeying this law, and the State Police is ready to ‘encourage’ the public to do just that.”

Walker added: “To borrow a line from a law enforcement video, a Kevlar vest can stop a speeding bullet, but it cannot stop a speeding vehicle.”

The full text of the Move Over statute follows:

New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2

Procedure for motorist approaching stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light or a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.


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