The pertinent New Jersey law here is N.J.S.A 39:4-88. Whenever a New Jersey roadway has been divided into clearly marked lanes for traffic, drivers of vehicles must adhere to the following:
(a) Under normal circumstances, you must drive your vehicle on the lane that is closest to the right-hand edge or curb of the road when it is available, unless you are trying to overtake another vehicle or you are preparing to make a left turn.
(b) You must drive your vehicle within a single lane; you shouldn’t move from that lane until you’ve first made sure that you can do so safely.
(c) When you’re driving along a highway that’s been divided into three lanes, you must not drive your vehicle to the center lane except when: (i) you’re overtaking or passing another vehicle; (ii) you’re preparing to make a left turn; or (iii) the center lane is allocated for traffic moving in your direction and there’s a signpost that notifies drivers of this.
(d) Either the State Highway Commissioner or local authorities may designate right-hand lanes for slow-moving traffic and inside lanes for faster traffic. When there are signposts or markings that indicate this designation, you can drive your vehicle in any of those lanes. However, when you’re traveling on one of the inside lanes, you must drive within the speed designated for that lane; you can’t unnecessarily decrease your speed in a way that blocks, hinders, or slows down traffic.
(e) When a roadway is marked so that there are three or more lanes for traffic going in any one direction, you may not drive a truck that registers 10,000 or more pounds in gross weight on the farthest left-hand lane, unless it’s necessary to: (i) prepare for a left turn, (ii) enter or leave the roadway by entrance to or exit from the left lane; or (iii) when it’s reasonably necessary to respond to an emergency.
MVC points and penalties
If found to be in violation of this statue, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will add two (2) points to your driving record. Whenever you get six (6) or more points within three years on your record, the MVC issues a yearly surcharge. Once accumulating 12 or more points, the MVC will suspend your driver’s license. There are several ways to get points reduced from your record. For example, taking a MVC-approved defensive driving course, driver improvement program, or a probationary driver program.
The fine assessed for violating this statute is $185.00. However, if you commit this violation in a designated safe corridor, construction zone, or 65 mile-per-hour area, the fine may increase to $290.00. The municipal court may fine you a minimum of $50 and/or imprison you for up to 15 days (only in the rarest of cases). Lastly, a judge has the discretion to suspend your license for willfully violating this law.
New Jersey-licensed automobile insurers also keep a separate, but similar, record of your motor vehicle violations though the “insurance eligibility points” system. If you are convicted for failure to observe traffic lanes, you will get two (2) points assessed on your record. As you get more points on your record, you may have to pay higher monthly insurance premiums.
If you just received a Failure to observe traffic lanes summons in the State of New Jersey and have any questions, call one of our experienced attorneys today to provide the clarity and peace of mind you are looking for.