As you may already know, there’s a New Jersey law that many refer to simply as the “move over” law. To say it’s caused some confusion would be understating the obvious.
The complete text of New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2 can be found on the state’s website for anyone who cares to read it in full. As a brief synopsis, motorists are expected to follow particular procedures when it comes to approaching certain stationary vehicles.
And yes – that could mean “moving over” to create a safe distance between the stopped vehicle and the moving one.
First, you should know what this new law identifies as “certain stationary vehicles.” The short version is that anything that is considered an emergency vehicle falls into this category. More specifically, the procedures come into effect when the vehicle displays a “flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors”
No doubt most drivers already think of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks as meeting the criteria for “certain stationary vehicles.” However, other vehicles such as tow trucks and garbage trucks that are pulled over to the side of the road also fall into the same category.
What It Actually Means to “Move Over”
The “move over” law most often comes into play when a motorist is travelling in the right lane. As most know, this is often referred to as the “slow lane” in most highways. A separate New Jersey law states that drivers should only use the left lane for passing.
Take for example the Garden State Parkway, one of the most well-known highways in the state throughout Essex, Union, Middlesex and Monmouth counties. What happens if you see a state trooper pulled over to the side of the road?
If possible, you are expected to move from the right lane to the middle lane. The logic for this move is to ensure the officer’s safety, as well as yours and any other motorists.
In theory, it all might make sense to you. However, that’s not to say that’s always possible to change lanes without causing an accident with the vehicle in the center lane.
One of the worst things you could do is suddenly slow down in such a case to find a space in the adjoining lane. Vehicles around you may not notice the stationary vehicle and you could cause an accident resulting in severe injuries and property damage.
Even more horrific might be your instinct to stop in the line of traffic as other vehicles attempt to fly around you.
If the lane change is impossible, you should attempt to slow down as much as possible without contributing to an accident. You may want to pump on your brakes to give drivers behind you some warning that you are changing your speed.
One other suggestion might be to stay in your lane and move as far left as possible. Again, make sure you are staying within the lines and not drifting in the pathway of another vehicle.
The Consequences of Ignoring the Opportunity to “Move Over”
In a worst-case scenario, the consequences of ignoring the opportunity to “move over” could seriously injure anyone stopped on the shoulder of the road. This could cause a severe motor vehicle accident that could even result in a fatality.
If you have the chance to change lanes and do not do so, you face penalties under the law. Fines for this particular violation start at $100 and can be as high as $500. The only good news is that you will not be assessed points on your license.
In the meantime, you could also face an increase in your automobile insurance premium.
When You Face a Ticket for a Move Over Violation
As an experienced law firm that represents clients in traffic court, the law firm of Beninato & Matrafaljo can help you understand the consequences of this type of violation. We are here to assist you when it comes to explaining the circumstances leading to your charge. Please contact us to set up an appointment so that we can help you fight your ticket.