What is the “Move Over” Law?

Each year in New Jersey, there are numerous tragic accidents that occur due to the failure of drivers to obey the state’s “move over” law. One of the reasons these accidents occur is that some drivers in New Jersey are not certain what the state’s move over law requires. In practice, however, law enforcement in New Jersey vigorously enforces its move over law because violations can be very serious. When a law enforcement officer pulls over a motorist, the officer will often walk to the driver side of the vehicle. To prevent law enforcement officers from being struck by vehicles, however, New Jersey passed the move over law. While it can be hard to determine when a move over law violation arises, a person’s ticket will often state something similar to “failure to change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle.”

The Essentials of the Move Over Law

In 2009, New Jersey passed the move over law in an effort to reduce the dangers posed to emergency workers including ambulance operators, law enforcement officers, and tow truck drivers. New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2 address the “move over” law and includes the following requirements:

  • The operator of a motor vehicle approaching an authorized emergency that is displaying a blinking, flashing, or alternating light must approach the emergency vehicle with caution.
  • In these situations, unless explicit direction is provided by a law enforcement officer, drivers can only proceed by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the emergency vehicle if it possible and safe to do so, or if a lane change is impossible then the motorist must reduce the speed of the vehicle to a reasonable speed for the existing road conditions. During this time, the driver should be prepared to stop.
  • The driver of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck that is displaying a flashing light or a stationary highway maintenance or emergency vehicle and displaying an amber, red, or yellow light must approach the vehicle with due caution. While approaching this vehicle, the driver should proceed by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the vehicle if possible and safe to do so, or if this cannot be done, reducing the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable rate for the surrounding conditions.

Penalties for Violating New Jersey’s Move Over Law

Violation of New Jersey’s move over law does not carry any points. A person, however, will be fined between $100 to $500. A person’s insurance carrier will also likely increase their motor vehicle insurance as the result of one of these offenses.

Speak with a Seasoned Accident Attorney

Like most motor vehicle laws, New Jersey’s move over law is intended to decrease the rate of accidents and keep motorists safe. As a result, if you were involved in any type of accident in New Jersey, including those involving a motorist who failed to move over, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney at Ferrara & Gable. Our legal counsel knows what it takes to make sure that you obtain the compensation you deserve.