'Move Over' rule pursued in New Jersey

| Tuesday, October 24, 2006

With less than three months remaining until the end of the regular session, state lawmakers in New Jersey could still discuss mandating a practice that has been followed by professional truck drivers for decades.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, D-Somerset, the bill is designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.

Dubbed the "Move Over Act," the bill would require drivers to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before passing an emergency vehicle parked by the road with their lights flashing.

The measure would require drivers to merge into a lane further away from an emergency vehicle. On two-lane highways, drivers would be required to reduce speed before passing the emergency vehicle.

Failure to obey the rule could result in a $50 fine.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.

New Jersey's effort - A258 - is in the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in January 2007. Any bill that doesn't gain approval in both chambers prior to the end of the session can be brought back for consideration next year.

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