wrapped up its two-year legislative session this month without mandating a
practice that has been followed by professional truck drivers for decades.
Sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Asselta, R-Vineland, the bill was
intended to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.
Dubbed the “Move Over Act,” the
bill required drivers to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before
passing an emergency vehicle parked by the road with its lights flashing.
The measure – S2126 – was awaiting debate before the full
Senate when the session ended.
It would have required drivers to merge into a lane further
away from an emergency vehicle. On two-lane highways, drivers would have been
required to reduce speed before passing the emergency vehicle.
Violators would have faced a $50 fine.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures,
at least 30 states have implemented similar safety-zone rules.
implemented their rules last year.
Bills that didn’t pass both chambers when the session ended
can be reintroduced in the new Legislature that started Jan. 10. A passing bill
already has been reintroduced by Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, D-Somerset.
Chivukula’s bill – A695 – is in the Assembly Transportation
and Public Works Committee.