Transportation and Vehicle Safety/Safe Corridor

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Question
Failure to change lanes for emergency vehicle.  No other vehicles around.  Going to work as usual 2a.m. in the morning got pulled over.  He said i should have gone over to left lane.  I was not aware a new law came out.  No fine on ticket how much to pay?  Can i make a plead not guilty?  Would i lose?  Does this go against your license.  I have to take a day off of work just to pay.      Can i plead not guilty?  Don't have any other offenses on my license.  New Jersey  Marlton,NJ area

Answer
Hi Brian,

Yes, this is the law in New Jersey.  Casually, it's called the "Move Over Law", but officially it's New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2, which requires anyone approaching an emergency vehicle on the shoulder with flashing lights (be it police, ambulance, fire or tow truck) to change to a lane not adjacent to the shoulder.  If that's not impossible, drivers must slow down to a cautious speed and be ready to stop.

Every state except Hawaii has a "Move Over" law on the books, so this is essentially a national policy.  New Jersey put their version on the books in 2009.  The law is designed to protect officers and emergency responders on the side of the road.

You can, of course, plead "not guilty".  And yes, you will probably lose.  Ignorance of the law is not a legal excuse for violating the law.  The fine is cited as $100 to $500, so if you're on the lower end of that, just consider yourself lucky.

New laws go into effect every single year.  If you have had your driver's license more than a decade, there are likely dozens of traffic laws you don't know about.  Driving is a privilege, not a right, and it is the responsibility of every driver to know the specific traffic laws of his state at all times, not just the ones that were in effect when the driver was licensed initially.  To get yourself up to speed, pick up the latest copy of the driver's manual for your state and read through it.  You can also put yourself on the email newsletter list for the NJ Department of Transportation, so that you get notifications via email when new laws go into effect.  

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Michael Mercadante

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Questions on traffic safety, safe performance and operation of a motor vehicle in traffic, about driving with special needs, learning/behavioral/developmental disabilities, understanding vehicle laws, understanding safety equipment on vehicles, defensive and precision driving techniques, driver education and instruction and driver exam preparation.

Experience

Owner and sole driving instructor for Modern Driver Institute. Eight years in traffic safety research on contracts for NHTSA, FMCSA, AAA, MDOT and PennDOT. More than 1,000 hours as a professional driving instructor. Licensed driving instructor in the state of PA. Certified Defensive Driving Instructor for the National Safety Council. Precision driving for Hollywood and independent films. Expertise in virtual-reality driving simulators and teaching students with developmental/intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and more.

Organizations
member, Teen Safe Driving Coalition; member, PA Safe Kids coalition; service provider, PA Bureau of Autism Services; service provider, PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Publications
Perkasie News-Herald WonkaVision Magazine eHow.com MadeMan.com Philadelphia Zoo website Driver Training Services website Yahoo! Associated Content

Education/Credentials
Licensed driving instructor, PA Department of Education Certified Defensive Driving Instructor, National Safety Council B.A. in American History (cum laude), Temple University (earned 2007) M.S. in Psychology, specialization in Educational Psychology (2015) Ph.D in Psychology, specialization in Educational Psychology (expected 2019)

Awards and Honors
Scientific Paper of the Year (2003), Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.

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