As the calendar flips from February to March, there's now a new law on the books that impacts every driver in New Jersey.

Last August, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the NJ Safe Passing Law into effect, which is designed to protect pedestrians, cyclists, and those on scooters, etc., that might be walking or traveling along roads.

Basically, if you are familiar with the state's law that requires you to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles or workers on the side of a road, be prepared to now do the same for pedestrians and the like.

What you need to know

Starting today, March 1st, when a driver approaches a "pedestrian, bicycle, low-speed electric bicycle, low-speed electric scooter, or any other lawful personal conveyance" on a road, you must follow these rules:

• When possible, make a lane change into a lane that's not next to a pedestrian or personal conveyance.

• If a lane change cannot be made, leave a reasonable and safe distance of not less than four feet while approaching the pedestrian or personal conveyance and maintain a distance of at least four feet until the motor vehicle has safely passed the conveyance.

• If it is not possible to change lanes, you must slow down to 25 MPH or less and be prepared to stop, if necessary.

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You are then allowed to pass the pedestrian or cyclist if it is safe to do so as long as you also take things like traffic, weather, safety, etc., into consideration.

A dangerous time on NJ roads

According to insidernj.com, 2021 was the deadliest year on New Jersey’s roads in 14 years for drivers and the deadliest in 30 years for those walking and cycling.

Fines

NJ.com reports drivers will be hit with a $100 fine for violating the NJ Safe Passing Law. If a driver causes bodily injury, the fine could increase to $500 with two points assessed.

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