New Jersey adopts move-over rule revisions, other states near changes

April 9, 2024

Keith Goble


Pursuit continues at multiple statehouses to revise move-over rules.

States historically apply move-over protections for emergency personnel. Rules around the country have since been expanded to include such vehicles as road service, utility and tow trucks.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is among the groups that have long advocated to include large trucks and others in the commonsense rule.

In recent years, another round of revisions has applied protections for all highway users, and more than 20 states now cover all users in their move-over law. Maryland adopted the rule two years ago, joining Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Over the past year, about a dozen more states have adopted move-over rule revisions that apply to all highway users. New Jersey was the most recent to enact changes.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed into law a bill to expand move-over protections to any vehicle along the roadside.

Garden State law previously included protection for stationary emergency services, highway maintenance, tow trucks and sanitation vehicles.

Already in effect, the new law requires drivers to move over when approaching a disabled vehicle with flashing hazard lights, road flares or reflective triangles. If changing lanes is not possible, drivers must slow down “below the posted speed limit.”

Violators would face fines between $100 and $500.

Elsewhere, legislative pursuits on the topic remain active.


A Kansas bill that is one vote away from heading to the governor’s desk addresses the state’s move-over rule.

State law requires travelers to move over or slow down when approaching vehicles that include law enforcement, emergency responders and utility vehicles with lights flashing along roadsides.

SB142 would expand the rule to cover any stopped vehicle displaying hazard signals. A $75 fine would be included for unlawful passing of a stationary vehicle.

The Kansas Department of Transportation and Kansas Highway Patrol provided testimony in support of the bill.

KDOT shared with lawmakers that state crash statistics from 2018-2022 show 688 empty vehicles were struck while on the side of the road. The crashes resulted in 19 suspected serious injuries and 11 fatalities.

There were 64 crashes with someone in a vehicle while on the side of the road during the same time period. These crashes resulted in two fatalities and one suspected serious injury.

KDOT’s Joel Skelley testified that the rule revision would make it easier to educate the driving public “as now all drivers will be required to move over or slow down if there is a vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights.”

SB142 was sent to a conference committee to work out differences between the chambers on provisions in the bill. At issue is language added in the House that is not relevant to the move-over provision.

House lawmakers voted Thursday, April 4 to agree to the conference committee report. The Senate must do the same to allow the bill to head to the governor’s desk.


Kentucky state lawmakers also are on the verge of sending a bill to the governor on the issue.

The state’s move-over law requires drivers to move over to the adjacent lane when approaching an emergency vehicle or public safety vehicle with flashing lights. If changing lanes is not possible or is unsafe, drivers are required to slow down and move with caution.

Covered vehicles include law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and towing vehicles.

House lawmakers voted unanimously to advance HB19, which would extend the requirement to move over or slow down to include any “disabled vehicle” displaying a warning signal, such as emergency flashers, flares or retroreflective signals.

Senate lawmakers have since approved the bill with changes that are not relevant to the topic. One change would prohibit closure of a roadway in the state’s capital city.

AAA Bluegrass backs the pursuit. Over a recent five-year period, the group reported that nearly 30 people in Kentucky were struck and killed while along roadsides.

The group said all road users need to be protected when parked along the roadside for any reason.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration of changes. If both chambers agree on all provisions in the bill, HB19 would move to the governor.


One Ohio Senate bill would expand the state’s move-over law to include any stationary vehicle that is in “distress.”

SB178 states that “a vehicle is in distress when the operator indicates the condition through lit fuse, flares, red lights, red reflectors, red flags, emergency signs or flashing emergency/hazard lights.”

Failure to change lanes or proceed with caution when approaching a stationary vehicle in distress could result in a misdemeanor offense. Drivers with other traffic violations in the past year would face increased charges.

An additional $100 charge could result if distracted driving is determined to be a factor in failure to move over or slow down.

The bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee. LL

More Land Line coverage of state news is available.