ABOUT EMERGENCY TRAVEL BANS
This text is adapted from "NJOEM Informational
Bulletin 97-1" which outlines policy for the scope
and enforcement of emergency travel bans. This policy
provides general guidance to the citizens and to local
authorities who will be called upon to exercise discretion
in the enforcement of travel restrictions at the local
level. Because of the large impact of this kind of restriction,
it is important that the public, business and industry,
and local governments understand the reasons for prohibiting
nonessential travel, how the prohibition will be implemented
and enforced, and the role they can play to ensure its
a travel ban may be needed:
circumstances, particularly hazardous road conditions,
can arise where it may be necessary to temporarily prohibit
nonessential travel on selected State roadways.
restrictions are intended to protect the public from
hazardous conditions. These restrictions will also enable
police, fire and emergency medical and emergency management
personnel to execute their duties efficiently and expeditiously.
Travel restrictions, in a blizzard situation, expedite
snow removal and reduce the hazards to authorized emergency
personnel traveling the roadways. They also expedite
the maintenance, repair or restoration of vital public
utilities and transportation and communication systems.
In some circumstances it is critical to the State's
emergency management efforts that only essential travel
by emergency personnel, authorized to abate the emergency
or protect the health, safety and welfare of the public,
Authorities for Enacting a Travel Ban:
New Jersey law, the Governor has the authority to declare
a State of Emergency and to exercise the Governor's
emergency powers with the assistance of and by delegation
to the State Director of Emergency Management. N.J.S.A.
App.A:9-37. The Superintendent of the New Jersey State
Police serves as the State Director of the Office of
Emergency Management (OEM). The Division of State Police
and the OEM are agencies of the Department of Law and
Public Safety, which is headed by the Attorney General.
a declared State of Emergency, it may be necessary to
impose restrictions on travel on selected State roadways.
These restrictions may be imposed pursuant to the Governor's
emergency powers, N.J.S.A. App. A:9-45. Additionally,
the Attorney General has certain emergency traffic control
authority which the Attorney General may separately
invoke to enforce travel restrictions. N.J.S.A.
travel includes travel by police, fire and emergency
medical services (EMS) and authorized emergency management
personnel to perform assigned duties. Travel in motor
vehicles other than ambulances or other emergency vehicles
for the purpose of obtaining or providing emergency
medical treatment may also be authorized as essential
upon advising police authorities with jurisdiction of
the circumstances. Other essential travel for purposes
authorized by the State Director will include, but not
be limited to travel to maintain public utilities, communications,
and fuel supplies.
"Essential personnel" Defined:
of their role in emergency operations, travel by authorized
emergency personnel during a State of Emergency is essential.
Authorized emergency personnel includes personnel of
the State, County and Municipal Offices of Emergency
also includes the personnel of supporting organizations
in the public and private sector authorized by the State
Director to perform assigned duties during the State
of Emergency. Employees in the public and private sector
with duties and responsibilities, the performance of
which is essential to the public's health, safety and
welfare, may also be authorized to travel.
and private sector entities should review or, if necessary
develop, an emergency operations plan that identifies
essential operations, employees who are responsible
for these operations and procedures to help reduce travel.
This plan should be discussed with municipal and county
emergency management coordinators. This process will
enable local emergency management officials to more
fully prepare the jurisdiction's emergency plan in the
event of travel restrictions.
following personnel may be considered essential
or may be eligible for a travel restriction exemption:
fire and emergency medical services and authorized
emergency management personnel,
persons providing emergency medical treatment or other
assistance necessary to prevent an immediate threat
emergency government employees,
who are employed, contracted, or responsible for performing
duties necessary to:
maintenance of acceptable conditions at facilities
providing health and medical care, veterinary
and/or daily residential care facilities,
an immediate danger to the public safety arising
from unattended chemical, industrial or other
processes involving hazardous materials,
maintain, or safely operate a public utility,
transportation or communication system,
operations of a business for the purpose of providing
fuel, heating, electrical, plumbing and other
services necessary to prevent an immediate threat
to the health, safety, and welfare of the public,
news reporting activities.
about the travel ban:
an emergency travel restriction is deemed necessary,
the State Director will communicate the decision to
all police departments, county and municipal emergency
management coordinators, State department and supporting
agency coordinators and major media outlets in the State.
State Director will also provide all supplemental information,
including the State Director's determinations as to
the parameters of permissible essential travel.
for violations may be imposed under the Emergency Management
Act N.J.S.A. App. A:9-33 et. seq. or the emergency
traffic control authority of the Attorney General N.J.S.A.
39:4-215. Local authorities will be advised to exercise
discretion in the enforcement of the travel restrictions
in their jurisdictions. Discretion will be predicated
on local road conditions, exigent circumstances, and
the need to ensure the health and safety of individuals.