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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  The Column  >  Move Over Law Now in Effect


The Column

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Move Over Law in
Effect. Now What?
Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, February 9, 2009
12:50 a.m.

Add 39:4-92.2 to that little scratch/smart pad you keep with your ticket book.

This is the new law that requires drivers to veer away (to an outer lane) from police cars and other emergency vehicles stopped on the side of a road. If moving to an outer lane is not possible, motorists are required to slow down below the speed limit and be prepared to stop. The actual text of this new Title 39 statute is posted below.


It would be a mistake, however, if we ran out and started banging motorists for violating this law. Our efforts would be better served toward a massive and collective public awareness campaign.

This law will one day save an officer’s life but only if everyone knows about it. A couple of news articles will simply not be enough. A coordinated effort should include the following:

  • Aggressive flyer campaign in police precincts, DMV offices, courthouses, etc.

  • Hand out literature during the Click it or Ticket program

  • Post announcements of the law on PD and municipal websites and Internet message boards

  • Email blasts to residents who subscribe to PD and municipal newsletters

  • Get regional and local papers to run articles and /or letters to the editor

  • Mentioned by officers speaking at events, schools, etc.

The sooner we accomplish compliance the better for all of us.

And those who choose not to comply can, of course, be converted by receiving a summons with a mandatory court date.

Here’s the text of the statute:

39:4-92.2 Procedure for motorist approaching stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1)Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2)If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

b.The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light or a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1)Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2)If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

c.A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.

L.2009, c.5, s.1.


Share you Thoughts on This Article

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission.  Use the scroll box below to submit your thoughts:



Your Comments

Since NJSA 39:4-97 prohibits drivers from driving without due caution and circumspection or in such a way as to be likely to cause injury to person or damage to property, why do we need another law? 

Doesn't that cover it?

This is a good law. For the geniuses that don't get it, let me explain it in 6th grade language.

If you see flashing lights on a shoulder, MOVE OVER. If you cannot move over, SLOW DOWN. Only those who are in the right lane need to slow down. NOT everybody in all lanes.

People in the right lane do not drive 70! They are the slowest on the highway. If they were to slow down below 65 or 55, there would be no hazard. Thank you NJ. For once you did something right.

How is this unconstitutional? How is this blackmail?! LOL

A police car had a car stopped and a additional police car was in front of him. I slowed down and moved into the other lane, after passing them moved back.  Here's comes the Police car flashing lights.  New I didn't speed, and he informed me of this law, and gave me a pink warning ticket.  I never heard of it. When I got home, I called our Insurance Company, and they didn't know what I was talking about, and advised me to call the DMV, I did and they had no clue what I was talking about.  I am upset getting a ticket for a law, no one knows about.

Dear Motoring Public:

This is a good law. Granted, the state could have done better in making people aware of it, but what the heck ... you don't comply with traffic signs, speed limits, highway regulations or common sense. Heck, I wonder how many of you can even read .. like the folks in this post bitching about slowing down - it applies to the people in the right (slow) lane that can not move over over due to traffic density, etc. I am an Emergency Service Patrol Operator with NJDOT. There are less than 100 of us covering the state and last Monday (1/11/10) a NJ Motorist killed one of us on I-76. We have been in operation for 15 years and Joe Kealey was our first fatality. In his case it was a DUI trying to merge in to traffic and driving on the shoulder at a high rate of speed. In 2007 my truck was totaled on I-80 by a tractor trailer driving to fast for road and weather conditions. I don't want to hear ANYONE whine about a ticket .. there isn't a driver out there that doesn't have at least one coming for some careless, reckless, ignorant act that they have performed behind the wheel. Slow down, pay attention, follow the rules, if you don't know what the rules are then take a class, plan ahead. Don't wait till you are on my bumper at a motor vehicle accident to move to another lane. WE are on the highway to protect you from each other .. now go out there and play nice.

I was given a ticket today for this 'offence'. I told the officer that I had no knowledge of this law. I have been driving for over 50 years, this is my first ticket, I am not happy.

I just got a ticket for this and I had never ever heard of the law. How can people obey a law they have never heard of ??!! Get the word out to the general public! Typical NJ everything done in a reactive manner instead of proactive.

This is totally ridiculous. I never knew about this law until I got a ticket. Very unfair! I was never told about this law going into effect... definitely not proud to live in NJ.

I called the Motor Vehicle Violations Surcharge System and let them know how I feel.  I was polite and to the point about how it's unconstitutional and literally a felony to extort/blackmail money from motorists who have already paid their debt to society. Of course I made sure to say I was totally willing to accept the fact that I was helpless in this matter and I would continue to make the payments in spite of the fact that what they're doing is disgraceful and totally unfair to New Jersey tax paying citizens. 

I drive through your state twice a day, and what i witness out on the roads is ,lightly putting it, "Insanity behind the wheel". As in getting the word out about this law, might I suggest that you also send out notices to the large fleet operators that operate in N.J. so that their drivers are aware of this law, seeing the alert on the traffic net signs on the NJTP the other night works also.

Finally, a law that makes sense.  Almost every time responding to an emergency there is an ignorant driver who never moves over which delays our response.  Sometimes I feel they do it on purpose, but this law makes sense!

Perhaps you should make it a law for the idiot that ALWAYS sits in the middle and / or left lanes slow down to let you over. It seems that they would rather speed up to keep you out.  Don't forget the other laws 1)Keep right except to pass 2)Slower traffic keep right.

Also it would help if the police would not sit in the left lane and do exactly the speed limit and dare anyone to pass them. (Keep right EXCEPT to pass) for everyone

This law is as useless as the laws passed on the use of cell phone while driving. People still talk on the phone and you still have to pull your side view mirrors in no matter how far you pull off the road.

This law will save the life of an individual that is risking their own life (everyday) trying to make your commute safer. 

JUST MOVE OVER! A few extra minutes is worth every life that can be saved...

What if that life was your parent, spouse, child, friend, neighbor????  Working along side of these interstates is really putting your life on the line... I know, I've been there.

It works in every other state (see NC), why not here?

This law will kill people! What is slower? One person commented slow is "15-25mph" another person might think 64mph is slow. I cannot imagine the mahem that this will produce when 4 lanes of traffic flowing down the Parkway at 75mph all of a sudden has to slow down for a litter patrol! This law could be a disaster!

This is a Bad Law.  Because 90% of motorists will not slow down, this this law will make the situation more dangerous!   The lane change idea sounds good (I always did this anyhow) but slowing down below the speed limit is dangerous! - If flow of traffic is moving 65-70mph and one motorist slows down to 45, the situation just got hectic! A daydreaming 65mph car that is rubbernecking the emergency lights could collide or swerve at last moment creating a greater hazard.

Something I was told to do when learning to drive many years ago..But the way people are driving now it makes sense to put it black and white.

I would like to see a 15-25 mph speed cap for passing motorists however this is a great addition to Title 39 and to our safety.

Wow, A Jersey Law that makes sense to protect Law Enforcement. I'm impressed.

Looks like a good idea.  Hopefully, people will follow it.
Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, February 9, 2009
12:50 a.m.

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