'Move Over' rule turned down in New Jersey

| 1/23/2006

New Jersey 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. Colorado and North Carolina 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.