Navigating New Jersey’s roadways comes with its own set of rules and regulations. One specific law that often gets overlooked but is critical for maintaining safety and smooth traffic flow is the New Jersey statute 39:4-127.2. This law specifically deals with the conduct expected from drivers when approaching or crossing movable span bridges. Understanding the nuances of this law is essential for anyone who drives in areas where such bridges are common, as ignorance of the law can lead to serious legal consequences.

Key Provisions Of The Law

The statute 39:4-127.2 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes lays out the conduct that drivers must adhere to when they approach a movable span bridge. According to the law, no one is permitted to operate any vehicle around, through or under any barrier or gate at or on the approaches to a movable span bridge if that gate or barrier is closed or is in the process of being opened or closed.

Respecting Traffic Control Measures

The law doesn’t stop at just obeying the gate or barrier. It further mandates that drivers must not drive any vehicle in disobedience to the directions of any traffic control signal or sign. This makes it clear that even if a driver thinks they can safely cross the bridge while ignoring the signals, doing so would be against the law.

Instructions By Officers, Bridge Tenders

Another aspect that this New Jersey statute covers is the role of authority figures like police officers or duly authorized bridge tenders, flagmen, or gatemen situated at or before the bridge. According to the statute, drivers are required to obey the directions of these individuals. Failing to comply with their instructions could be grounds for legal action against the driver.

Implications For Offenders

Ignoring this statute and choosing to engage in improper crossing of a movable span bridge in New Jersey could expose you to an $86 fine and two points on your driver’s license.

Common Defenses To 39:4-127.2 Violations

When facing charges for violating New Jersey’s 39:4-127.2 statute related to improper crossing of a movable span bridge, there are several defenses that may be available to you. It’s crucial to note that the effectiveness of any defense will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

Lack Of Notice Or Signage

One common defense might focus on the lack of adequate notice or signage indicating that a bridge was a movable span bridge or that a gate or barrier was in operation. If it can be demonstrated that the signage was missing, unclear, or obscured, you may argue that you were not sufficiently informed about the need to stop or yield.

Questioning The Authority Of The Official

The statute specifies that directions from a police officer or “duly authorized bridge tender, flagman, or gateman” must be obeyed. If it can be proven that the person giving directions was not authorized to do so, that might serve as a defense. Verification of credentials or authority could become critical here.

Malfunctioning Traffic Control Signals Or Barriers

If the traffic control signals or barriers were malfunctioning, and this led to confusion or misinterpretation, it could form the basis of a defense. For this, gathering evidence like videos, photographs, or witness statements could be invaluable.

Emergency Situations

Some defenses could potentially revolve around the necessity to cross the bridge due to a medical emergency or other urgent situations. However, this would likely require substantial evidence to prove that no other reasonable course of action was available.

Compliance With Traffic Control Measures

If you followed all other traffic rules and regulations and were charged only because of disobeying a gate or barrier that was being opened or closed, you might argue that you were, in fact, in compliance with all other aspects of the statute. For example, if you obeyed a traffic control signal but misinterpreted the state of the gate or barrier, you could use this as part of your defense.

Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-127.2

What Does The 39:4-127.2 Statute Cover?

The statute prohibits driving through, around, or under any gate or barrier at a movable span bridge when the gate or barrier is closed or being opened or closed. Additionally, it mandates obedience to traffic signals and directions from authority figures like police officers and bridge tenders.

Who Are Considered Authority Figures?

According to the statute, authority figures include police officers, duly authorized bridge tenders, flagmen, and gatemen. These individuals have the authority to direct traffic in the vicinity of a movable span bridge, and their directions must be obeyed.

What Happens If I Disobey A Traffic Control Signal But Obey An Authority Figure At The Bridge?

The law is clear that you must obey both traffic control signals and authority figures. Failure to obey either could result in being charged under this statute.

Is It Ever Legal To Cross A Closed Gate Or Barrier At A Movable Span Bridge?

No, the statute explicitly states that you cannot drive through, around, or under a closed gate or barrier. There are no exceptions mentioned in the law.

What Kind Of Evidence Could Be Useful In Defending Against A 39:4-127.2 Charge?

Evidence like photographs of unclear or missing signs, videos capturing the situation, or witness statements could be beneficial. Your defense may also involve questioning the authority of the official directing traffic or presenting evidence of an emergency situation requiring you to cross the bridge.

Could Emergency Situations Serve As A Defense?

It may be possible to argue necessity in a court of law, though substantial evidence would be needed to prove that no other reasonable course of action was available.

Improper Bridge Crossing Lawyers

If you’ve been charged with a violation under 39:4-127.2 and are seeking professional legal counsel, look no further. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall focuses in traffic offenses and can provide the representation you need. With offices throughout New Jersey, we’re readily accessible and highly experienced in dealing with cases like yours. Don’t risk your driving record or face hefty fines alone; contact us today at (855) 933-3761 or online for a consultation.

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