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Navigating The Rules For Marked Lanes And Penalties
Traffic laws are designed to maintain safety and order on the road. In New Jersey, specific laws govern how drivers should behave when a roadway has marked lanes for traffic. If you’re a driver in New Jersey, knowing these laws is crucial. Violating them can lead to penalties and complications that could affect your driving record, financial situation, and even your legal standing. In this piece, we’ll go over New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 39:4-88 and Section 39:4-88.1 to help you better understand your legal responsibilities as a driver.
Driving In Marked Lanes: What You Need To Know (Section 39:4-88)
Stick To The Right-Hand Lane
In New Jersey, if a roadway has clearly marked lanes, a vehicle is generally expected to be driven in a lane closest to the curb or right hand edge, unless the vehicle is overtaking another vehicle or about to make a left turn. This ensures smoother traffic flow and reduces the chances of accidents.
Lane Switching With Caution
You’re expected to stay as close to a single lane as possible and should only switch lanes after ensuring it’s safe to do so. Before changing lanes, make sure the move can be made without jeopardizing your safety or that of other road users.
Three-Lane Highway Rules
For highways divided into three lanes, the center lane is generally off-limits except when overtaking or passing another vehicle or preparing for a left turn. The center lane can also be used if it’s specifically allocated for the direction you’re driving in and is clearly signposted.
Local authorities can designate certain lanes for slow-moving traffic or specific speed limits. If lanes are designated this way and signposted, you must adhere to these rules and not unnecessarily slow down traffic in inside lanes.
Trucks And Left-Hand Lanes
If you are driving a truck that weighs 10,000 pounds or more, you are not allowed to use the farthest left-hand lane unless you’re preparing for a left turn, entering or leaving the roadway, or responding to emergency conditions.
Fines For Violations
If you violate the rules of driving in marked lanes as stipulated in Section 39:4-88, you could be fined anywhere between $100 to $300. Typically, the fines are between $186 and $291. The offense also carries 2 points on your driver’s license.
Potential Defenses For Violating New Jersey’s Lane Traffic Laws
Lack Of Proper Signage Or Lane Markings
One defense could be that the roadway did not have clearly marked lanes or proper signage indicating speed limits or lane designations. This could cast doubt on whether the law was broken at all, as the statute requires “clearly marked lanes” for traffic.
Section 39:4-88 makes exceptions for emergency conditions. If you can prove that you were reacting to an emergency—like avoiding an accident or responding to poor visibility due to weather conditions—you may be able to use this as a defense.
Preparation For Turns
The law allows you to use different lanes when preparing for turns. If you can demonstrate that you were moving to another lane to prepare for a left or right turn, this could serve as a defense against the charge.
Overtaking Another Vehicle
Section 39:4-88 states that driving in the right-hand lane does not apply when overtaking another vehicle. If you were cited while passing another vehicle, you could argue that your actions were in compliance with this provision of the law.
Ambiguity In “As Nearly As Practicable”
The law states that a vehicle should be “driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane.” This phrase introduces a degree of subjectivity and could be used to argue that you did your best to stay within a single lane given the specific circumstances you were facing.
NJ Traffic Offense Attorneys Can Help Defending 39:4-88
Defending yourself against traffic offense charges related to New Jersey’s traffic lane laws can be complex. However, knowing the law and the defenses available to you can make a significant difference in your case. Always consult a traffic offense lawyer to understand your rights and options fully, as each case is unique and needs to be considered on its own merits.
Take back control by enlisting a seasoned traffic offense attorney from Marshall Traffic Ticket Lawyers. We provide the legal guidance you need to navigate the NJ criminal justice system effectively. Take the first step by calling us at (855) 925-4034 or contacting us online.