A practice followed by professional truck drivers for decades would become law for all drivers in New Jersey if a bill in the state’s Senate becomes law. The legislation is designed to protect emergency personnel during roadside stops and certain other vehicles.
Sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Denville, the bill would require drivers to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before passing emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles parked by the road with their lights flashing.
This is the second year in a row Bucco has offered legislation intended to protect emergency personnel. The 2007 version failed to advance from the Senate before the session ended.
Dubbed the “Move Over Act,” the bill would require drivers to merge into a lane farther away from emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles, if practical. On two-lane highways, drivers would be required to reduce speed before passing.
Failure to obey the rule would result in up to $500 fines.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.
The bill – S180 – is in the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor