Middlesex County Promoting State’s
“Move Over” Law to Improve Roadside Safety
SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 – County, state and local officials and community partners gathered this morning to promote New Jersey’s “Move Over” Law, which requires drivers to move over when approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks and other highway safety vehicles that display emergency flashing lights in order to prevent injury or death to the responders.
Guest speakers at the event included Donna Setaro, the mother of New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano, who died of injuries he sustained when he was struck by a passing vehicle while he was searching for a suspect along Route 195.
“I heard Donna Setaro speak about her son, a dedicated State Trooper, and I was very moved and became committed to helping promote the new ‘Move Over’ Law,” said Middlesex County Freeholder H. James Polos, Chairman of the County’s Law and Public Safety Committee. “As a former volunteer Rescue Squad Captain, I know firsthand the dangers emergency responders face on our roadways and hope the visibility this County initiative will provide to this new law helps save lives.”
As a way to promote the law county- and statewide, members of Pan Gregorian organization will distribute 500,000 placemats at 450 diners throughout New Jersey. Pan Gregorian is a food service cooperative that assists independent diner and restaurant owners by negotiating the lowest cost and ensuring the highest quality for the food served and supplies used by an establishment.
The placements, which resemble coloring book pages, can be colored by young diner patrons and viewed by the grown-ups sitting with them.
“The members of PGE are pleased to assist with this statewide public safety initiative which will make our roadways safer for emergency service personnel,” said George Siamboulis, President of Pan Gregorian Enterprises.
“I am so thankful for the support of the diners’ association and its commitment to helping us educate drivers about the ‘Move Over’ law,” Donna Setaro said. “This law was created for the safety of the state emergency workers, utility workers and tow truck drivers. To date we have made presentations to over 20,000 people. The placemats will help promote the ‘Move Over’ Law and triple the message to the public.”
Since 2007, there have been nearly 30,000 crashes in roadside work zones in New Jersey, resulting in nearly 10,000 injuries and 70 deaths. Police throughout the State have written about 3,200 citations for not obeying the “Move over” law since it was adopted. Failing to obey the law can result in fines up to $500.
Freeholder Polos, Ms. Setaro and Mr. Siamboulis were joined at a press conference today at the Edison Diner on Route 1 by Edward Cetnar, Acting Lieutenant Colonel of the New Jersey State Police; Robert Goydash, Regional Supervisor for the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety; Christopher Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association; and Dave Gregor, a retired State Trooper and coordinator of the County’s Comprehensive Traffic Safety Program.
“This law protects the police, rescue personnel, and roadside assistance technicians who risk their lives to help others. Drivers need to respect these workers by obeying the ‘Move Over’ law, or they will face the consequences," said Lieutenant Colonel Edward Cetnar, Deputy Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“The ‘Move Over’ law is critical not only because it helps protect our first responders, but it helps ensure the safety of all motorists,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the State Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “We have all seen the devastating crashes that have occurred when drivers do not move over when passing a traffic stop on the roadside. In conjunction with efforts to get motorists to control their speed and avoid distractions, this law is an integral piece of the traffic safety puzzle.”
Christopher J. Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of NJ, said: “In the past decade, 140 law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice after being struck by a vehicle. Please move over for stopped emergency vehicles.”
“As a retired New Jersey State Trooper, there were many times that I was more concerned with oncoming traffic than with the service or activity that I was engaged with on the side of the highway,” the County’s Gregor said. “While it didn't happen often when I was a trooper on the road, it is a great feeling to drive down our highways and see vehicles using their directional signals to move over for response professionals working on the highways. You can't help but wonder how many emergency workers have been spared serious injury because of the enactment of this law.”
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, president of the Middlesex County Chiefs of Police Association added: “In New Jersey, law enforcement faces the daily challenge of policing some of the busiest streets, roadways, and highways in the nation. This challenge is made more difficult when motorists fail to move over.”
Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano said, “I applaud Freeholder Polos and all those who have come together for this incredibly important endeavor. I applaud Donna Setaro for her courage and for her commitment to educating the public on the ‘Move Over’ Law. It is efforts like these that help us all keep our friends, neighbors and loved ones safe.”
Photo (L-R): (Lt. Colonel Edward Cetnar Jersey State Police, George Samboulis President Pan Gregorian Enterprises, Donna Setaro Mother of Trooper Marc Castellano, James Polos Middlesex Country Freeholder)