If you’re navigating the streets of New Jersey, it’s crucial to understand the laws governing your actions behind the wheel, especially those that relate to backing and turning your vehicle. One such important law is New Jersey Revised Statute 39:4-127, which focuses on the conduct of drivers when backing up or turning on a street. This statute sets forth specific rules aimed at maintaining a smooth flow of traffic and minimizing disruptions caused by the movements of individual vehicles.
What Does 39:4-127 Actually Say?
Section 39:4-127 of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation laws prohibits any vehicle from backing or making a turn on a street if doing so would interfere with other vehicles. To put it simply, if your action of backing up or turning your vehicle disrupts the normal flow of traffic or creates a hazardous situation, you are in violation of this law.
Key Elements: Interference And Alternatives
The central aspect of this statute is the concept of interference with other vehicles. This means that your actions shouldn’t disrupt other road users. If backing or turning in a specific location would cause such an interference, the law explicitly suggests that drivers should opt for alternative routes. The statute advises going around a block or finding a sufficiently wide street where the vehicle can turn without needing to back up.
Avoiding Interference: The Legal Requirement
According to this law, it’s not merely a suggestion but a legal requirement to avoid backing or turning in a manner that interferes with other traffic. The language of the law is clear on this point: “No vehicle shall back or make a turn in a street, if by so doing it interferes with other vehicles.” Violation of this statute could result in penalties, including fines or points on your driving record.
Why This Statute Is Important
39:4-127 aims to reduce traffic disruptions and improve road safety by controlling how vehicles back up or turn on the streets. By ensuring that drivers are conscious of how their actions affect other road users, this New Jersey law plays a critical role in maintaining order and safety on the roads.
Possible Consequences Of Violation
Improperly turning or backing in a street could result in an $86 to $141 fine and two points on your driver’s license. The severity of the fine depends on whether you violated the law in a 65 MPH area, safe corridor, or construction zone.
Defenses Based On The Language Of The Statute
When charged with a violation of New Jersey Revised Statute 39:4-127, there are a few defenses that could be raised based on the specific wording of the law. Since the statute prohibits backing or turning that interferes with other vehicles, the primary focus for defense would be on whether or not the action actually caused interference.
No Interference Occurred
The most straightforward defense would be to argue that your action of backing up or turning did not interfere with other vehicles on the road. If you can provide evidence, such as video footage or eyewitness testimonies, to prove that your actions did not disrupt the flow of traffic or create a hazardous situation, you could make a compelling argument against the charge.
Sufficiently Wide Street
Another defense could hinge on the statute’s provision that suggests drivers should go to a street “sufficiently wide to turn in without backing.” If you can demonstrate that the street where the action occurred was indeed wide enough for a turn to be made without backing, and without causing interference, then you may have a strong defense.
Going Around The Block Was Not An Option
The statute also mentions the alternative of going around a block instead of backing or turning in a way that interferes with other vehicles. If it can be proven that going around the block was not a feasible or safe option, this could serve as a defense. For instance, if the surrounding blocks were closed off due to construction or an emergency, making it impractical to go around the block, you could argue that your actions were justified.
Broad legal principles may allow for a defense if the backing or turning was necessary to prevent immediate harm to yourself or others. This would likely be a more difficult defense to argue and would require substantial evidence to support the claim that no other course of action was available.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-127
What Does 39:4-127 Prohibit?
The statute prohibits vehicles from backing up or turning in a street in such a way that interferes with other vehicles on the road. In simple terms, if your action disrupts normal traffic flow, you are in violation of this law.
What Does “Interference” Mean In The Context Of This Law?
Interference refers to any action that disrupts the normal flow of traffic or creates a hazardous situation for other drivers. If your backing or turning action causes other drivers to brake abruptly, swerve, or take evasive actions, you may be considered to be in violation of the statute.
What Are The Alternatives If I Can’t Back Or Turn Safely On A Narrow Street?
According to the statute, you should either go around a block or find a sufficiently wide street where turning can be executed without backing up and without causing interference.
Is It Ever Legally Justifiable To Back Or Turn In A Manner That Might Interfere With Traffic?
Possibly. For example, you could have a defense if your actions were necessary to prevent immediate harm to yourself or others.
What Are The Penalties For Violating 39:4-127?
Violations could result in fines, points on your driving record, or even legal proceedings depending on the severity of the interference caused.
NJ Improper Turning Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with violating New Jersey Revised Statute 39:4-127, it’s crucial to seek professional legal counsel to explore your options and defenses. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our team focuses in traffic offenses like improper backing or turning in a street. Don’t navigate the complexities of New Jersey traffic law on your own; let us assist you through the process. To get started, you can contact us at (855) 933-3761 or online.
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