Wednesday, February 23, 2022

New Safe Passing Law in Effect March 1

The state’s new safe passing law goes into effect March 1. It requires drivers to provide at least 4 feet when passing vulnerable road users, like cyclists and joggers.

The law joins the move over law and crosswalk stop law, which require motorists to move over or slow down for first responders and stop for people crossing in crosswalks. The goal of all these laws is to reduce injuries and fatalities and prevent near misses.

The law takes effect after one of the deadliest years on New Jersey roads in decades, according to data from the New Jersey State Police. In 2021, 703 people were killed in crashes, including 222 pedestrians and 23 cyclists. It was the deadliest year on record for pedestrians in New Jersey since 1983 when 229 pedestrians were killed and the deadliest year for cyclists since 1999 when 24 cyclists were killed.

Last year’s terrifying trends seem to be continuing this year. As of February 21, there had been 79 fatal crashes resulting in 84 deaths. This includes 24 pedestrians.

The new law, signed by Governor Murphy in August, requires drivers to use “due caution” whenever they see a vulnerable roadway user, which includes people walking, running, biking, riding a scooter or in a wheelchair.

Drivers must move over one lane if possible. On a single-lane road, drivers must allow a f4-foot safety zone when passing. If they cannot provide 4 feet of space, they must slow down to 25 mph and be prepared to stop until they can safely pass without endangering those sharing the road.

Drivers who violate the law and cause bodily injury, face a $500 fine and two motor vehicle penalty points. If there is no bodily injury, the fine is $100.

Slowing down, moving over, and passing with care will prevent crashes and save lives.

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