Bridgewater, NJ – State and local officials gathered here yesterday to draw attention to New Jersey’s Move Over law that requires motorists to move over if safe to do so when they approach an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road.
Officials met in Bridgewater (Somerset County) to highlight the 2009 law and to educate the motoring public about how a simple act of courtesy can help save lives.
In addition to participating in a press conference at Bridgewater Town Hall, the New Jersey Department of Transportation helped spread awareness by posting “Slow Down-Move Over-It’s the Law” and “Respect & Protect 1st Responders” messages on its Dynamic Message System displays along highways statewide.
“I strongly urge motorists to observe the law and give police, EMS and our NJDOT maintenance workers a full lane-width of space if it’s available wherever they encounter first-responders and roadway workers,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “With high volumes of traffic often moving at high rates of speed, that extra space can help save a life.”
“Our first responders put their lives on the line for us every day, so the least we can do is obey the law and help increase their safety in a dangerous work environment,” said state Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman.
Under the law, motorists are required to slow down as they pass first responders on roadway shoulders if they cannot safely shift to another lane to create space for them. The law also applies to tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles.
“New Jersey State Troopers have lost their lives by being struck by motorists,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “These tragedies can be prevented if everyone adheres to the law and either gives a cushion of space or slows down.”
“We are pleased to host this event in Bridgewater, where six high-speed, high-volume state highways converge,” said Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery. “I remind motorists that the law also applies to county and municipal roadways, where our local police and first responders benefit every time a motorist slows down or gives them room.”
Since the law was enacted in January, 2009, a total of 2,347 summonses have been issued to motorists who were charged with violating the law.
“Many New Jersey motorists already take steps to protect those who protect them, and we appreciate those good driving habits,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “We hope other motorists adopt those same safety practices as a result of this event to publicize the Move Over law.”