TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Vin Gopal that would expand driver education and testing to include the driver’s and law enforcement officer’s responsibilities during a police stop and the driver’s responsibilities under the “move over” law was passed by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today.
“With deadly encounters between law enforcement and motorists around the country on the rise, educating new drivers on what to expect when stopped by a police officer will help reduce the likelihood of such incidences.” said Senator Van Drew (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “Increasing awareness of the “Move Over” law is imperative to protecting our police officers, first responders and others.”
“Several states around the country are starting to require that students in driver’s education be taught appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “However, some of these states found problems after bills were implemented. New Jersey is in the position to benefit from these glitches. We can see what has worked and what hasn’t in order to create the best possible outcome.”
The bill, S-1688, would require the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission, in consultation with the Attorney General, to revise the driver’s manual to include information on the responsibilities of the driver and the law enforcement officer during a police stop. It would also require the manual to include information on driver responsibilities under the “Move Over” law.
The driver’s manual would instruct drivers to pull to the far right side of the road, turn off their car and radio, avoid sudden movements, and keep their hands in plain view when stopped by law enforcement. It would also explain the officer’s responsibility to ask for identification documents regarding the driver and the car, and to inform the driver of the reason for the vehicle stop. Further, the manual would advise drivers that law enforcement must conduct the stop in line with the driver’s rights as outlined by the New Jersey Law Enforcement Handbook and the Attorney General’s Safe Stop Initiative.
The revised driver’s manual would also include that drivers are required to change lanes or reduce speed when approaching cars with flashing, blinking, or alternating lights pulled over on the side of the road, as outlined by the “Move Over” law.
The bill would call for the driver’s license exam to be expanded to include a question regarding responsibilities during a police stop. Questions about the “Move Over” law could be included as part of 20 question that may be added to the exam on subjects of particular relevance to young drivers.
The bill would take affect the first day of the seventh month after enactment. The Motor Vehicle Commission would be permitted to distribute any remaining copies of the current driver’s manual before printing the revised manual.
The bill was approved 5-0 and next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.