A practice followed by professional truck drivers for decades could soon become law for all drivers in New Jersey. The legislation is designed to protect emergency personnel during roadside stops.
New Jersey law already requires motorists to yield the right-of-way when an ambulance, police vehicle or fire truck is approaching with lights and sirens activated. A bill on its way to Gov. Jon Corzine’s desk is designed to protect emergency personnel and certain other vehicles that are alongside the road with their lights flashing.
The Assembly and Senate endorsed the measure, which would require drivers to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before passing emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles that are parked by the road with their lights flashing.
Dubbed the “Move Over Act,” the bill – S180 – 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, about 40 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor