If you think stopping for a school bus is the only time you need to hit the brakes when you see flashing lights, think again. In New Jersey, there’s a specific law that dictates how drivers must behave when they approach or overtake an ice cream truck—or, as the statute calls it, a “frozen dessert truck.” According to the New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 39:4-128.4, you are required to stop and proceed with extreme caution when you encounter one of these trucks. Understanding this law is crucial not only for your safety but also for the well-being of pedestrians, particularly children, who may be crossing the street to reach the truck.
The Basics Of The Statute
The law mandates that any driver approaching or overtaking a stopped frozen dessert truck must come to a full stop before reaching the truck. This requirement is in effect when the truck’s flashing red lights and stop signal arm are activated. Failing to stop in such scenarios could result in penalties, including fines and up to four points on your driver’s license.
What Happens After Stopping?
Once you’ve stopped, the law allows you to proceed but with two conditions. First, your speed must not exceed 15 miles per hour as you pass the truck. Second, you must yield the right of way to any pedestrian crossing the roadway to or from the frozen dessert truck. This rule is in place to ensure the safety of individuals who might be crossing the road to make a purchase from the truck.
Exceptions To The Rule: Dual Or Multiple Roadways
There are instances where stopping for a frozen dessert truck is not required. If you are driving on a highway that has dual or multiple roadways separated by physical traffic or safety islands installations, you do not have to stop when you encounter a frozen dessert truck that is stopped on another roadway. In other words, if there is a physical barrier or a separate lane that segregates your part of the road from where the ice cream truck is parked, you may continue without stopping.
Potential Defenses Against Violating 39:4-128.4
The Absence Of Flashing Red Lights And Stop Signal Arm
One possible defense against a charge under this statute is to prove that the frozen dessert truck did not have its flashing red lights and stop signal arm activated at the time you passed it. The statute explicitly states that a driver is required to stop when these signals are “in use.” If the signals were not active, then you may argue that you were not obligated to stop before passing the truck.
Presence Of Physical Traffic Separation Installations
If you were driving on a road with dual or multiple roadways separated by physical traffic or safety islands installations, then the statute clearly states that you are not required to stop. In such a situation, you can argue that you were abiding by the exceptions to the rule as mentioned in the statute, and therefore should not be held liable for violating the law.
Reasonable And Prudent Speed
If you did indeed stop before passing the frozen dessert truck but were ticketed for exceeding a “reasonable and prudent speed,” you could mount a defense by showing evidence that your speed did not exceed 15 miles per hour as required by the statute. This may require presenting evidence such as dash-cam footage or witness testimonies that confirm your speed at the time of the incident.
Right Of Way Yielded To Pedestrians
The statute requires drivers to yield the right of way to any pedestrian crossing the road to or from the frozen dessert truck. If you are cited for not yielding, you could argue that there were no pedestrians present at the time, or if there were, that you did yield the right of way as required by the law. Again, video footage or witness accounts could help substantiate this claim.
Dispute Of Location
You may also argue that the incident did not occur on a “highway” as defined by New Jersey law, in which case the statute would not apply. While this might be a rarer defense, it could be applicable if the incident occurred on a private property or other types of roads that may not be considered a “highway.”
Each defense would need to be tailored to the specifics of your case and it may be helpful to consult with an attorney experienced in New Jersey traffic offenses to evaluate the strength of your defense.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Law On Improper Passing Of An Ice Cream Truck
Do I Have To Stop For An Ice Cream Truck Even If I’m In A Hurry?
Yes, according to New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 39:4-128.4, you are required to stop for a frozen dessert truck when its flashing red lights and stop signal arm are in use. The law applies irrespective of your urgency.
What Speed Can I Drive Past The Ice Cream Truck Once I’ve Stopped?
The statute allows you to proceed past the frozen dessert truck at a “reasonable and prudent” speed, which should not exceed 15 miles per hour.
What If The Ice Cream Truck Is On The Opposite Side Of The Road?
The law mandates that drivers approaching from “either direction” must stop for a frozen dessert truck with activated flashing red lights and stop signal arm. So, even if the truck is on the opposite side, you are still required to stop.
Are There Any Exceptions To This Law?
Yes, if you are driving on a highway with dual or multiple roadways separated by physical traffic or safety islands installations, you are not required to stop when encountering a frozen dessert truck on another roadway.
What Could Happen If I Don’t Stop?
Failing to adhere to this law is considered a violation of New Jersey traffic laws, and penalties may apply. The specific penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case and your driving record.
Need Help With A Traffic Ticket For Improper Passing Of An Ice Cream Truck?
If you’ve been ticketed for improperly passing a frozen dessert truck under 39:4-128.4, you don’t have to navigate the legal system alone. Reach out to the traffic ticket lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall for professional guidance and representation. With offices throughout New Jersey, we’re well-versed in the state’s traffic laws and can help you understand your options. You can contact us at (855) 933-3761 or online to discuss your case.
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