When approaching an accident or other utility activity that is happening on the side of the road, many motorists will inevitably become distracted. They may slow down to take a closer look, which can sometimes take their focus off of the road. Unfortunately, this distraction can often lead to additional motor vehicle accidents.
Most of roadside emergencies or maintenance work will mean that there are many different people working to address the issues present. The road, in a sense, becomes their office, and they need to know that their workspace will remain safe in order to perform the necessary duties.
To help address concerns of rescue workers, law enforcement personnel and others who would be helping motorists or performing working on highways, New Jersey has implemented a move-over law. The law, which was created two years ago, requires drivers to “move over” when they see a police or emergency vehicle or tow truck on the side of the road. If it is not possible to move over, drivers are required to slow down.
However, many New Jersey drivers are not giving construction workers and rescue personnel the work they need to assist motorists. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office states that there have been almost 30,000 accidents and 70 deaths since 2007 that have been caused by drivers while some type of work is being performed on the side of the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started a campaign in New Jersey to increase awareness of the move over law. It has released several commercials that will serve as a reminder to other drivers about the proper driving habits in these roadside work zones. Drivers that do not follow this rule can face high fines if stopped by police.
Source: NorthJersey.com “N.J. campaign urges motorists to make way for emergency vehicles” Karen Rouse, June 25, 2012.