NEW NJ SAFE PASSAGE LAW: Protecting all who share the roads Takes effect today
The law sets guidelines to prevent near-misses, injuries and fatalities suffered by
most vulnerable road users after NJ sets record for road deaths in 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2022
TRENTON, NJ, March 1, 2022––As of today, the NJ Safe Passing Law (NJSPL) (A5570/S2208) takes effect. The new law provides clear traffic rules for all motorists as to when and how to overtake people sharing the road on foot, bicycle, scooter, wheelchair or other legally permitted means of travel other than a motor vehicle.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored and co-sponsored by 16 senators and members of the Assembly, was approved 102-1 by the NJ Legislative Assembly last June, signed by Governor Phil Murphy in August, and is expected to take effect. on March 1, 2022.
The Safe Overtaking Act requires drivers to exercise “caution” when they see vulnerable people on the road. The law states that:
- Drivers must Obey all current no-passing and over-speeding laws AND stay in a lane if there is one.
- On a single lane road, drivers must leave at least a 4 foot safety zone when they pass.
- If 4 feet is not possible on a stretch of road, drivers must slow to 25 mph and be prepared to stop until they can safely pass without endangering those sharing the road.
2021 has been the deadliest year on New Jersey’s roads in 14 years for drivers, and the deadliest year in 30 years for the most vulnerable road users, people who walk, bike and ride. The pandemic has led to increased car and truck traffic on our roads as well as an increase in speeding. COVID has also led to more people using the roads on foot or on wheels, out of necessity or choice. “Last year, 704 people were killed on New Jersey roads, the highest number since 2007. Driver and passenger fatalities increased 18%, while pedestrian fatalities increased 24% and cyclist fatalities increased by 28%.
NJ’s Safe Passage Law is the toughest safe passage law in the nation, and with the number of road deaths and serious injuries on the rise across the state, it’s coming to a critical moment,” said Debra Kagan, executive director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. This law gives us the opportunity to raise awareness and prioritize safety, making our roads safer for everyone, especially vulnerable road users.
“The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, along with our advocacy partners across the state, will now launch a major public awareness campaign in May,” said Jim Hunt, Safe Passing Law Campaign Manager for the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition. “We believe our efforts will underscore the importance of all state actions in the laws.”
“This legislation was long overdue. Last year alone, 246 of our vulnerable road users, pedestrians and cyclists, died on NJ roads,” shelps Sangetta Badlani, founder of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation and Families for Safe Streets NJ. ”These are lives we can save by raising awareness and enforcing this law. This law puts safety first and is a step toward ending the grief that so many families suffer from the loss of a loved one in a preventable accident.
This law aims to protect pedestrians and cyclists from the most aggressive drivers,” said John Boyle Director of Research for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “I’ve had close calls with drivers passing me carelessly or recklessly, sometimes intentionally without consequence.”
“New Jersey’s Safe Passing Law, the most comprehensive in the nation, is the result of more than a decade of hard work by advocates. We are grateful to the sponsors of the bill and Governor Murphy for acknowledging the importance of the protections provided by this law, which takes effect on March 1. We look forward to continuing to work with Trenton leaders to make our streets safer for all road users in our state, especially those who are most vulnerable. – Janna Chernetz, Deputy Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
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