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Editors Column

'Move-Over' is the Law in New Jersey

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The past few days have been a very positive time in my life.  I have gotten to spend a great deal of time interacting with my state legislators.  This is something that I have preached for years.  Now is the time for me to step up my commitment to interacting with my representatives. 
First off it was my privilege to testify before the New Jersey Assembly's Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee.  As President of the New Jersey Association of Fire Districts, my testimony was presented in support of legislation we have been working on for a long time now.  All went well, and our bill was released from committee.  The process is sometimes difficult to follow, but you have to play the game according to the proper rules.


On Monday March 16, it was my privilege to attend a bill signing ceremony in the office of Jon Corzine, our Governor.  One of the bills was championed solely by our association.  However, the other was supported by a broad-based coalition which included our group.  It was my honor to receive one of the ceremonial signing pens for the New Jersey 'Move-Over' bill.


It is now official.  New Jersey has a 'move-over' law.  As you and I know, one of the major problems with a 'move-over' law is that no one is aware of it.  It takes a bit of time for new laws like this to gain traction and become a part of the daily, driving world in any state.


We are not letting any grass grow under our feet on this one. Our fire districts association is part of the New Jersey Fire and Emergency Medical Services Caucus (NJFEMSI).  My own personal consulting firm is a Gold-Level member of the NJFEMSI.  We have pledged to get the word out on this important new piece of legislation.  We are undertaking a statewide educational campaign. 


It is my pleasure to announce that the first activity of this campaign will be a press conference featuring the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, AAA Mid-Atlantic, and the NJFEMSI.  The press conference will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday March 25, 2009 at the New Jersey State Police Barracks adjacent to the Molly Pitcher Rest Area near Exit 8A on the New Jersey Turnpike.


Each of these agencies will unveil their own contributions to the statewide campaign including a new website (, promotional materials, public service announcements, use of highway electronic messaging and low watt traffic advisory radio, etc.


The NJFEMSI has committed itself to asking all local fire departments and first aid squads to use any signs outside their buildings which can display a message to promote the 'move-over' message.  We will play our part in the effort to make the highways of New Jersey Safety for the police, fire, EMS, and highway workers who operate on these roadways.


It has taken quite a bit of time to make this happen.  We in the NJFEMSI, the N.J. Association of Fire Districts, and all of the other organizations in this coalition are committed to educating the public.  In addition to this law, we are all expecting the release of our new statewide highway standard operating procedures.  They are currently being reviewed in the Attorney General's Office.  We hope to see something soon.


My friends, the journey toward a safer highway operating environment is a long and difficult one.  We here at and the Emergency Response Safety Institute have been laboring long and hard in the vineyards of highway safety.  It is always pleasing to see progress such as we are experiencing here in New Jersey.


Our goal is the elimination of struck-by incidents as a cause of death among the fire, police, EMS, highway worker, and tow truck operator communities.  It is our intention to keep moving forward. We need your help to keep our message moving among your agencies.  Please help us to help you.


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