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Hackettstown Police Department and NHTSA urge drivers to slow down and move over when lights are flashing

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — The Hackettstown Police Department and U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are urging drivers to slow down and move over when lights are flashing.

Every day, law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and other roadside workers risk their lives to help keep Americans safe. One of the most dangerous parts of an officer’s job is stepping out of his or her patrol car and onto the side of the road, whether it is for a traffic stop, to assist a motorist, or to investigate a crash.  Tragically, dozens have been killed in the line of duty.

Since 2017, there have been 149 law enforcement officers alone killed in traffic-related incidents. Between 2006-2017, on average, one law enforcement officer was killed during a traffic related incident each week.

To protect those who protect us, every state has a variation of a “Move Over” law, requiring drivers to move over and/or slow down when approaching stopped vehicles with flashing lights activated. In fact, the “Move Over” laws do not only apply to law enforcement — these laws also help protect other first responders, tow truck drivers, and any emergency vehicle drivers with flashing lights activated. Some state laws also protect utility workers and other roadside workers.

Because these laws vary from state to state, it is the driver’s responsibility to know their state’s specific requirements. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with local highway safety partners and law enforcement to help get the word out to every motorist: Move Over. It’s the Law.

The “Move Over” law isn’t new: It was first introduced in South Carolina in 1996. In 2012, Hawaii was the final state to enact such a law. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers and others are still killed every year by drivers who fail to obey the law and move over.

“Slowing down and moving over is a simple way to help protect law enforcement, first responders, and others who work on the roads at all hours of the day,” said Hackettstown Police Lieutenant Darren Tynan. “These emergency personnel work in dangerous situations all the time, but drivers really increase that risk for them when they zoom by and ignore the flashing lights — and the law.” That’s why all drivers need to know the law and follow it. By following this law, we protect those who protect us.

NHTSA has used a similar high-visibility approach in other traffic safety campaigns, such as Click It or Ticket, to increase seat belt use. These tactics have proven helpful in getting the word out about existing laws and the reasons they’re important.

“Many drivers seem to think that moving over is just an optional courtesy when they see law enforcement or emergency vehicles pulled over on the side of the road,” Tynan said. “It’s not optional. Move Over. It’s the Law.”

To view the “Move Over” law specifics, including fines and penalties, click here.

“Emergency and other roadside personnel can only do so much to keep themselves safe when they pull over on the side of the road. The rest of the responsibility falls on other motorists. Remember, next time you see those flashing lights on the side of the road, Move Over. It’s the Law,” Tynan said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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