EAST RUTHERFORD – Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa was joined today at MetLife Stadium by former Super Bowl champion Tony Siragusa and other members of the New Jersey motoring community to unveil the state’s renewed drive to highlight the importance of the Move Over law.
“Undoubtedly, New Jersey has some of the busiest roads in the country. Everyday police, emergency responders, tow truck drivers and construction workers put their lives at risk by working on the roadside to keep us safe,” said Chiesa. “We need the motoring public to be vigilant by protecting those who protect us.”
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety has produced four, 30-second videos for airing on television and one, 30-second spot for the radio. There is also a five-minute web video featuring those who have either lost a loved one who worked on the roadside, or had a close call because a driver did not abide by the Move Over law. To view the videos, visit www.moveoverlaw.com.
The new tagline for the campaign is “If you make the move, others will follow.” The idea for the slogan began with observations from State Troopers who patrol New Jersey’s roads. They noticed that when one motorist either slowed down or moved over, trailing cars followed suit.
“Safe driving could pick up momentum in real time with just one smart decision by a conscientious driver to start the move,” said Chiesa.
Few know the value of moving over more than Donna Setaro, of Forked River. On June 6, 2010, Setaro’s son, New Jersey State Police Trooper Marc Castellano, was struck and killed by a motorist while responding to a roadside emergency on Interstate 195. Since then, Setaro has been campaigning throughout the state to educate drivers about the “Move Over Law,” which was designed to prevent the very tragedy her family suffered. Setaro made it her mission to speak to 20,000 people about the Move Over law and Marc’s life and death by June 6, 2012, the two-year anniversary of her son’s death. She succeeded.
“Somebody simply didn’t pay attention – a good person – a good person that didn’t pay attention when he was behind the wheel,” Setaro said.
Marc’s brother Nick Castellano, a patrolman in Ocean Township, appears in the campaign videos and urges motorists not to take flashing lights for granted.
“It just takes that one person to say hey, there’s lights up there, let me be a responsible driver, let me move over one lane or slow down because I don’t want to hurt somebody or kill somebody,” said Catellano.
After hearing about Setaro’s mission, Siragusa, who currently works as a sideline reporter for FOX’s NFL broadcasts, and as co-host on the DIY Network show “Man Caves,” decided to lend his voice and serve as spokesman for the campaign.
“What Mrs. Setaro and her family have suffered is an incredible tragedy,” Siragusa said. “I have friends who work a lot of those jobs on the roadside in New Jersey, so it was an easy call for me to get involved.”
Since 2007, there have been nearly 30,000 crashes in roadside work zones in New Jersey, resulting in nearly 10,000 injuries and 70 deaths. Police throughout the state have written approximately 3,200 citations for not obeying the Move Over Law since it was adopted.
A Mason-Dixon poll conducted nationally found that 71 percent of respondents have not heard of “Move Over” laws, but 90 percent of them believe working on the side of the road is dangerous.
“These numbers illuminate the problem and explain why we’re here today: emergency responders on the roadside face great danger. Unfortunately, motorists are not exactly clear on how they can assist. This campaign provides clarity to the motoring public by echoing our message in the videos. If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, slow down, and if it’s safe, move over,” Chiesa said.
Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said the law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks and other highway safety vehicles that display red, blue and/or amber flashing lights to move over one lane or, if not safe to move over, then slow down below the posted speed limit. Failing to obey the law can result in fines of up to $500.
“Regrettably, violations of the Move Over Law are all too common and our law enforcement officers and other roadside responders are experiencing far too many close calls” Poedubicky said. “Our plea to the motoring public is to protect those who protect and assist us by following this common sense law.”
“Based on what I see, there still seems to be a general lack of awareness about the Move Over Law,” said Major Edward Cetnar, Commander of the New Jersey State Police Field Operations. “We believe this campaign will impress upon people the tragic results of careless drivers who fail to move over for troopers and all emergency workers on our roadways.”
Other agencies joined the call for heightened awareness on the roadsides, too.
“The Motor Vehicle Commission has for some time been talking about the need to limit and or remove items that can distract a driver’s attention from what’s on the road,” said Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “The need to stay focused is never more important than when drivers must give emergency vehicles their space to perform what may often be life-saving work.”
“The Move Over law helps keep everybody safe on New Jersey’s roads, so we are glad to participate in events that raise public awareness about the importance of giving emergency workers a little extra space when they are assisting motorists along roadway shoulders,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson.