New Jersey strengthens ‘Move Over’ law as Brick officer narrowly escapes injury

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A Brick Township police officer says that he is lucky to have escaped serious injury after a driver violated the state’s Move Over law.

Officer Brian Williams was conducting a traffic stop on Route 70 Sunday evening when an inattentive driver sideswiped his cruiser, badly damaging it.

“My vehicle just got it. I am immobile. I am not injured. The vehicle was 70 westbound. I’m OK,” Williams told dispatch after the crash.

Williams tells News 12 New Jersey that it was one of the biggest scares of his 16-year career in law enforcement.

“If I stepped out of that vehicle, we would not be having this conversation,” he says.

RELATED: Lawmakers seek to increase penalty for ‘move over law’ violators 
RELATED: Part of I-195 dedicated to state trooper who was fatally struck in Howell 

Williams was not hurt. But his cruiser was damaged.

“It happened very quickly and I didn’t realize the magnitude of it until I re-watched the video footage,” he says.

New Jersey has a law on the books requiring drivers to move to the left lanes if they are approaching an emergency vehicle parked on the side of a highway. If the driver is unable to move over, or it is unsafe to do so, they must slow down.

The law was put into place after a similar incident ended in tragedy 10 years ago. New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano died after he was struck by a car while stopped on Interstate 195 in Howell. A memorial now stands near where he was struck.

Earlier this month, Gov. Phil Murphy strengthened the Move Over law by increasing fines and adding license points to violators.

Williams says that Castellano’s death and his scare could have easily been avoided by simply using common sense.

“When it's all said and done, it’s potentially someone's life out there. No one intends on getting into an accident but when you don't give that courtesy to move over or slow down, that potential is always there."

The driver who hit Williams did stop after the crash and was cited with violating the Move Over law.

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