Move Over to Save LivesIt’s always been the safe decision as a motorist to move over when approaching a stopped emergency, construction, or police vehicle, but for the past several years doing so has been a legal requirement under NJ law. Learn the facts about Move Over Laws and their legal consequences to save yourself from legal headaches as well as continually looking out for our emergency first responders.

About the Law: Since early 2009, the Move Over Law has been in place in New Jersey in an attempt to end the roadside deaths of emergency and highway safety personnel. It states that drivers must move to a different lane while approaching any stopped emergency vehicles, police officers, or tow trucks. If simply not possible to move over, the law does allow a reasonable slowing down to fall under the legal allowances, which must be below the posted speed limit.

Legal Consequences: The Move Over Laws and later introduced bills mean that a failure to comply by slowing down or moving over is punishable by a $100-$500 fine, as well as 3 penalty points on a license. These are covered under the statues 39:4-92:2 and A1217.

Additional Statue: The Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicles statue is an extension of the Move Over law, which is designed to assist ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles arrive more quickly at their destination. This means that when the siren of one of these emergency vehicles is blaring, you have the responsibility to yield right of way. While the legal repercussions for the Move Over Law apply to stationary vehicles, this statue deals closely with those that are currently driving.

Legal Consequences: The above statue, listed as 39:4-91, has an additional penalty to the basic Move Over Laws. Failure to abide by this law will result in a minimum of 2 points on a driver’s license and an $85 fine.

Why it’s Important:

  1. There are huge numbers of lives lost in the United States by the failure of ambulances to reach them quickly enough, which would be greatly decreased by a full compliance with the ‘Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicles’ law. If this is widely implemented, it would be much easier for ambulances to reach emergencies without delay.
  2. Far too many law enforcement officers have been struck by vehicles on highways and smaller streets when stopped on the side of the road, even following the implementation of Move Over Laws. Key proponents of the law include the Castellano family, whose son and brother, Marc Castellano, was killed while responding to an emergency on I-95. In addition to police, firefighters, and other emergency responders, there is also danger for construction workers and truck drivers. Adding a mere few minutes to your commute by moving over for emergency vehicles can save lives.

Key Parties Involved:

  • Police Department
  • Fire Department
  • Ambulance Services and Private Ambulances
  • Move Over America—Advocacy effort to educate Americans on Move Over Laws
  • All Drivers—Including yourself, all drivers on NJ roads should take heed of these laws and be sure to follow them when in the presence of emergency vehicles.

But in the event that you’re ticketed for failing to abide by this statute, don’t simply pay the fine, seek legal assistance from an experienced defense attorney.  Call me, Leon Matchin, at (732) 662-7658 today to discuss your options.