Navigating New Jersey’s roads and intersections can be challenging, especially when you encounter flashing traffic signals. In such scenarios, understanding the traffic rules is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain road safety. New Jersey law provides specific guidelines for what drivers must do when they come across flashing traffic control signals. This piece will focus on dissecting New Jersey’s statute 39:4-119, which outlines the obligations for drivers when encountering flashing red and amber signals.
Flashing Red Signal: Mandatory Stop And Right-Of-Way Rules
According to New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 39:4-119, if you encounter a flashing red signal at an intersection, you are required to come to a complete stop. This is not an optional pause; it is a mandatory full stop. After stopping, you may proceed, but only after yielding the right-of-way to any traffic on the intersecting street that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. In simple terms, you should stop, assess the situation, and make sure it’s safe to proceed before moving forward.
Flashing Amber Signal: Proceed With Caution
The law also covers what to do when you see a flashing amber signal. Unlike the flashing red signal, which requires you to stop, a flashing amber signal serves as a warning for potential danger. In this case, you are required to proceed only with caution. The law specifies that the amber lens, when illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, indicates the presence of danger. While you aren’t required to come to a complete stop, you should slow down and be extremely careful when navigating through the intersection.
Consequences For Violating 39:4-119
The statute aims to regulate traffic flow and enhance safety by clarifying how drivers should react to flashing signals. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can result in penalties and negatively impact your driving record. Specifically, failure to observe flashing traffic signals is punishable by an $86 to $141 fine and two points on your driver’s license. The fine is likely to be higher if the alleged offense occurs in a construction zone or a safe corridor.
Additionally, not following the rules outlined in 39:4-119 can compromise the safety of both yourself and other road users. Therefore, being fully aware of this law and complying with it is not just a legal obligation but a matter of public safety.
Understanding Potential Defenses To 39:4-119 Violations
One defense against a violation of 39:4-119 may focus on the definition of “complete stop.” According to the statute, the flashing red signal requires drivers to come to a “complete stop.” If you can provide evidence that your vehicle did come to a complete stop, perhaps through video footage or eyewitness testimony, then this could serve as a strong defense.
Unclear Or Malfunctioning Signal
Another possible defense could be the clarity and functionality of the signal itself. If the flashing red or amber signal was not functioning properly at the time of the alleged offense, it may be argued that you did not have the legally required notice to stop or proceed with caution. However, this would likely require evidence such as photographs, maintenance records, or expert testimony about the malfunctioning signal.
Yielding The Right-Of-Way
The statute specifies that after stopping at a flashing red signal, a driver should only proceed after yielding the right-of-way to all intersecting traffic that is an “immediate hazard.” Thus, another defense could focus on the term “immediate hazard.” If it can be demonstrated that no such immediate hazard existed at the time you proceeded through the signal, this could also be a viable defense.
Proving The Presence Of Danger For Flashing Amber
For a flashing amber signal, the law states that drivers should proceed only with caution due to the “presence of danger.” If you’re charged with not proceeding with caution, one defense might be to challenge what constitutes the “presence of danger.” If the conditions at the time did not suggest immediate or substantial danger, it may be arguable that you did proceed with the required level of caution.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-119
What Am I Required To Do At A Flashing Red Signal In New Jersey?
According to New Jersey statute 39:4-119, drivers encountering a flashing red signal are required to come to a complete stop. After stopping, you may only proceed after yielding the right-of-way to any intersecting traffic that is so close as to be an immediate hazard.
Is A Rolling Stop Enough At A Flashing Red Signal?
No, the statute specifies that a “complete stop” is required. A rolling stop could result in a violation of 39:4-119.
What Should I Do At A Flashing Amber Signal?
When encountering a flashing amber signal, you are required to proceed only with caution. Unlike a flashing red signal, a complete stop is not mandatory, but you should be extra cautious due to the presence of potential danger.
Can I Be Fined For Not Stopping At A Flashing Red Signal?
Yes, failure to adhere to 39:4-119 can result in penalties, which may include fines and points added to your driving record.
What Kind Of Defenses Can I Use If I’m Charged With Violating 39:4-119?
Possible defenses could involve proving a complete stop was made, challenging the functionality of the traffic signal, or demonstrating that there was no immediate hazard when you proceeded.
Can I Proceed After Stopping At A Flashing Red Signal Even If There’s Oncoming Traffic?
The statute states you should proceed only after yielding the right-of-way to all intersecting traffic that is an immediate hazard. If there’s oncoming traffic close enough to pose an immediate hazard, you must yield the right-of-way.
Traffic Ticket Lawyers At The Law Offices Of Jonathan F. Marshall
If you’ve been charged with a violation of New Jersey’s 39:4-119 statute, it’s crucial to get professional legal counsel as soon as possible. The team of traffic ticket lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is here to help. With extensive experience in defending clients against traffic violations, we can provide the professional counsel you need to navigate this challenging situation. To discuss your case and explore your options, contact us today at (855) 933-3761 or online. Both methods are quick and easy ways to get the representation you deserve.
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