New Jersey has a variety of traffic laws designed to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. One such law that is particularly relevant for those navigating the state’s numerous intersections is Section 39:4-90, which outlines the rules for yielding the right of way at intersections. Below, we’ll dissect the key aspects of this statute to help you better understand your responsibilities as a driver and what happens if you violate the law.
What Does The Statute Say?
According to New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 39:4-90, when a driver approaches an intersection, they must yield the right of way to any vehicle that has already entered the intersection. The statute further elaborates on the circumstances when two vehicles enter an intersection at the same time. In such instances, the driver of the vehicle on the left must yield the right of way to the driver of the vehicle on the right.
Left Turns At Intersections
The statute also addresses scenarios involving left turns at intersections. Specifically, if you are within an intersection and intend to make a left turn, you must yield to all vehicles approaching the intersection from the opposing direction that is either within the intersection or so close to it that it poses an immediate hazard. Once you have yielded and provided the legally-required signal, you may then complete your left turn. Conversely, other vehicles approaching the intersection from the opposite direction must yield to you once you start making your left turn.
Importance For New Jersey Drivers
Why is this statute important? For one, understanding how to properly yield at intersections is crucial for preventing accidents. Intersections are hotspots for collisions, and knowing when and how to yield can significantly mitigate risks. Non-compliance with this law could lead to traffic offenses and accidents.
What Happens If You Violate This Law?
If you fail to adhere to the rules specified in Section 39:4-90, you may find yourself facing penalties. In New Jersey, failing to yield the right-of-way at an intersection 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, 65 MPH area, or a safe corridor. For individuals who have been charged with a violation of this law, it is often advisable to seek legal counsel familiar with New Jersey traffic laws.
Defenses To An Alleged Violation Of 39:4-90
Ambiguity In Who Entered The Intersection First
One of the key points in the statute is yielding to the vehicle “which has entered the intersection.” If it is ambiguous or unclear who actually entered the intersection first, this could serve as a possible defense. Surveillance footage or witness testimony may support your claim that you, in fact, had the right of way according to the statute.
Left Turn Confusion
The statute outlines that a vehicle intending to turn left must yield to an approaching vehicle that is inside of the intersection or so near that it constitutes an immediate hazard. If you can establish that the approaching vehicle was not within the intersection or close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, then you may have a valid defense.
Signal Malfunction Or Lack Of Signals
The law assumes functioning traffic signals or signage to guide right-of-way. In cases where traffic signals were malfunctioning or signage was absent or unclear, you may be able to argue that you operated your vehicle to the best of your ability under confusing or challenging conditions.
Other Vehicle’s Negligence
Sometimes, the other driver may be at fault, either partially or wholly. For example, if the other driver was speeding excessively, making it impossible for you to accurately judge their distance or speed, you could argue that their negligence contributed to the failure to yield.
Sudden Or Unforeseen Circumstances
If an unexpected event, such as a medical emergency or a sudden mechanical failure, led to the violation, this might also be considered in your defense. Unexpected and uncontrollable circumstances could potentially be used to justify why you were unable to yield.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-90: Failure To Yield At Intersection In New Jersey
What Does 39:4-90 Require Of Drivers?
The law mandates that a driver approaching or attempting to enter an intersection must yield to any vehicle that has already entered the intersection. If two vehicles enter at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. The statute also has provisions for left turns at intersections.
What Happens If I Violate This Law?
Violating this New Jersey traffic law can lead to penalties such as fines, points on your driver’s license, and in some cases, mandatory court appearances.
Can I Defend Myself Against A 39:4-90 Charge?
Yes, there are several potential defenses. These might include ambiguity about who entered the intersection first, malfunctioning traffic signals, or even the negligence of the other driver involved. The specific circumstances of your case will determine which defense strategies are viable.
Is A Dashcam Video Admissible In Court?
A dashcam video could potentially serve as evidence to establish who had the right of way at the intersection. However, the acceptability of such evidence varies and should be discussed with an experienced attorney.
How Do Left Turns Factor Into This Law?
If you intend to execute a left turn at an intersection, you have to yield to cars that are coming from the opposite direction given they are within the intersection or so close in proximity that they pose an immediate hazard. Once you’ve yielded and signaled as required, you can complete your left turn.
Failure To Yield Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with violating New Jersey’s 39:4-90 statute on failing to yield at an intersection, you’re likely facing a stressful situation. The traffic ticket lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to help. Our firm focuses in New Jersey traffic laws and can provide professional counsel on how best to navigate your particular situation.
Don’t hesitate to get the legal help you need. Contact The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today at (855) 933-3761 or reach out to us online for a consultation. With offices throughout New Jersey, we’re well-equipped to serve you wherever you are in the state.
To learn more about New Jersey traffic violations, click here.