Driving on the roads of New Jersey requires strict adherence to various traffic rules and regulations. One crucial but often misunderstood law is the one that governs how drivers should behave at stop or yield signs. This piece aims to offer a total synopsis of New Jersey’s statute 39:4-144. This law explicitly spells out the obligations and expectations for drivers when approaching or crossing intersecting streets that have “stop” or “yield right of way” signs.
Key Components Of 39:4-144 In New Jersey
The “Stop” Sign Requirements
The first part of this statute details what you must do when approaching a “stop” sign. According to the New Jersey law 39:4-144, no driver of a vehicle or street car should enter or cross an intersecting street that has a “stop” sign unless certain conditions are met. Specifically, you are required to bring your vehicle or street car to a full stop. This stop should be within five feet of the closest crosswalk or stop line that is marked on the road at the side closest to the intersecting street. Once you have stopped, you may proceed only after you have yielded the right of way to all incoming traffic on the intersecting street that is close enough to pose an immediate danger.
The “Yield Right Of Way” Sign Requirements
The statute also outlines how to navigate an intersecting street with a “yield right of way” sign. Drivers must slow their vehicle to a reasonable speed based on visibility and existing conditions. Stopping is required if necessary. Here, too, you must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic on the street that is intersecting that is close enough to be considered an immediate hazard. These actions should be taken unless you are directed otherwise by a traffic or police officer or a traffic control signal.
Right Turns At Stop Or Yield Signs
The third key component of this statute governs what a driver should do while turning right at an intersecting street that has either a “stop” sign or a “yield right of way” sign. It requires that the driver must stop and remain stopped for pedestrians crossing the road within a marked or unmarked crosswalk into which they are turning.
Failing to obey stop or yield right-of-way signs can result in an $86 to $141 fine, with the fine being on the higher end for violations in a 65 MPH area, construction zone, or safe corridor. Two points are assessed on your driver’s license for this violation.
Questioning The Validity Of The Stop Or Yield Sign
One potential defense may focus on whether the “stop” or “yield right of way” sign was properly marked and visible. The statute specifies that the driver should stop or yield at an “intersecting street marked with a ‘stop’ sign” or a “yield right of way” sign. If it can be proven that the sign was not adequately visible or improperly installed, it could serve as a defense against the charge.
Challenging The “Immediate Hazard” Clause
NJ law requires drivers to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic that is so close as to constitute an “immediate hazard.” This term is subjective and open to interpretation. Therefore, a defense could be built around questioning what constitutes an “immediate hazard.” For example, if it can be demonstrated that there was no oncoming traffic close enough to be an immediate hazard, the violation may be dismissed.
Citing Officer Or Traffic Control Signal Directions
The statute explicitly states that a driver may proceed if “otherwise directed to proceed by a traffic or police officer or traffic control signal.” If you were directed to proceed by an officer or a signal, contrary to what the sign indicated, this could be used as a defense.
The statute mandates that drivers must stop and remain stopped for pedestrians crossing the roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk when making a right turn. If the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk, or if they were acting erratically or against traffic signals, their behavior could potentially serve as a defense against a violation of this Section of the statute.
Challenging The “Reasonable Speed” In Yield Cases
For “yield right of way” signs, the law specifies that drivers should slow down to a reasonable speed for the visibility and existing conditions. What constitutes a “reasonable speed” could vary depending on various conditions such as weather, time of day, or road conditions. Therefore, challenging what is considered “reasonable” under those specific conditions could be a potential defense.
Contesting The Location Of The Stop
The law specifies that the vehicle must come to a full and complete stop at a point that is within 5 feet of the closest stop-line or crosswalk. If it can be proven that the vehicle was stopped within these guidelines, it could be a valid defense against the charge of failing to observe the stop sign.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-144 In New Jersey
What Are The Basic Requirements When Approaching A Stop Sign Under New Jersey Law 39:4-144?
You must bring your vehicle to a complete and total stop within 5 feet of the closest crosswalk or stop-line marked on the pavement. Only after stopping and yielding to oncoming traffic that poses an immediate hazard can you proceed.
Is It Mandatory To Stop At A Yield Sign?
No, it’s not mandatory to stop at a yield sign unless it’s necessary. You must slow down to a reasonable speed considering the conditions and yield to any oncoming traffic that is an immediate hazard.
What Does “Immediate Hazard” Mean In This Context?
The term “immediate hazard” is subjective and refers to oncoming traffic that is close enough to pose a direct risk or danger if you were to proceed.
Can I Proceed If Directed By A Police Officer, Even If It Contradicts The Sign?
Yes, the statute allows you to proceed if directed by a police officer or a traffic control signal, even if it goes against what the sign indicates.
What Should I Do When Turning Right At A Stop Or Yield Sign?
You must stop and remain stopped for pedestrians crossing the roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk into which you are turning.
Is There A Specific Distance Within Which I Should Stop When Approaching A Stop Sign?
Yes, you are required to stop within 5 feet of the closest stop-line or crosswalk marked on the road at the side closest to the intersecting street.
Need Legal Assistance For A 39:4-144 Violation? Contact Our Traffic Ticket Attorneys
If you have been charged with a violation of New Jersey statute 39:4-144, it’s crucial to act swiftly and consult with an experienced attorney. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our team of traffic ticket lawyers is well-versed in New Jersey’s complex traffic laws and can help you navigate through the legal process. To discuss your case and understand your options, reach out to us at (855) 933-3761 or online. Don’t leave your driving record to chance; let our expertise direct you to one of the best possible outcomes.
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