A practice followed by professional truck drivers for decades would become law for all drivers in New Jersey in a bill that could come up for consideration in the final month of the regular legislative session. The proposal is designed to protect emergency personnel and certain vehicles during roadside stops.
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.
Dubbed the “Move Over Act,” the bill would require drivers to merge into a lane further 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 a $500 fine.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.
The bill – S2422 – is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor. If approved there, it would move to the Assembly. All legislation must pass both chambers prior to the end of the regular session, which is scheduled for Jan. 8.
To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey in 2007, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor