Failure to observe traffic lanes (NJSA 39:4-88)
When a New Jersey roadway has clearly marked lanes, you must drive within the marked lanes. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with a traffic ticket. In this article, New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer Dan T. Matrafajlo will explain to you what you need to know about the law, and what it can mean for you if you are found in violation of it.
The law: N.J.S.A. 39:4-88
The pertinent New Jersey law here is N.J.S.A. 39:4-88. It says that whenever the New Jersey roadway has been divided into clearly marked lands for traffic, drivers of vehicles must adhere to the following:
(a) Under normal circumstances, you must drive your vehicle on the lane that’s closest to the right-hand edge or curb of the road when it’s available, unless you’re trying to overtake another vehicle or you’re preparing to make a left turn.
(b) You must drive your vehicle within a single lane; you shouldn’t move from that lane until you’ve first made sure that you can do so safely.
(c) When you’re driving along a highway that’s been divided into three lanes, you must not drive your vehicle to the center lane except when: (i) you’re overtaking or passing another vehicle; (ii) you’re preparing to make a left turn; or (iii) the center lane is allocated for traffic moving in your direction and there’s a signpost that notifies drivers of this.
(d) Either the State Highway Commissioner or local authorities may designate right-hand lanes for slow-moving traffic and inside lanes for faster traffic. When there are signposts or markings that indicate this designation, you can drive your vehicle in any of those lanes. However, when you’re traveling on one of the inside lanes, you must drive within the speed designated for that lane; you can’t unnecessarily decrease your speed in a way that blocks, hinders, or slows down traffic.
(e) When a roadway is marked so that there are three or more lanes for traffic going in any one direction, you may not drive a truck that registers 10,000 or more pounds in gross weight on the farthest left-hand lane, unless it’s necessary to: (i) prepare for a left turn, (ii) enter or leave the roadway by entrance to or exit from the left lane; or (iii) when it’s reasonably necessary to respond to an emergency.
MVC points and penalties
If you violate this law, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will add 2 points to your driving record. Whenever you get six or more points within three years on your record, the MVC will fine you. When you get 12 or more points, the MVC will suspend your driver’s license. There are several ways to get points reduced from your record: you can take an MVC-approved defensive driving course, driver improvement program, or a probationary driver program.
The traffic ticket fine for violating this law is $85. However, if you commit this violation in a designated safe corridor, construction zone, or 65 mile-per-hour area, you will be fined $140.
The municipal court can fine you a minimum of $50 to a maximum $200 and/or imprison you for up to 15 days. The judge can also suspend your license for willfully violating this law.
New Jersey-licensed automobile insurers also keep a separate, but similar, record of your motor vehicle violations though the “insurance eligibility points” system. If you are convicted for failure to observe traffic lanes, you will get two points added. As you get more points on your record, you will have to pay higher insurance premiums.
I can help.
Getting a traffic ticket for something as seemingly trivial as failure to observe traffic lanes can have serious consequences for your driving record and insurance rates. That is why you need the help of a good New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer who can fight on your behalf for your acquittal or to get points reduced from your record. Dan T. Matrafajlo has years of experience successfully handling traffic ticket matters. Call me at (908) 248-4404 for a free initial consultation.