Failure to observe road signals (N.J.S.A. 39:4-81)

If you get caught running a red light or a stop sign, you are considered to have violated New Jersey traffic law, and you will receive a traffic ticket. In this article, experienced traffic attorney Dan T. Matrafajlo will explain to you the legal consequences of getting a ticket for failure to observe traffic signals.

The law: N.J.S.A. 39:4-81

The pertinent New Jersey traffic law is N.J.S.A. 39:4-81, which says:

“a. The driver of every vehicle, the motorman of every street car and every pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer.

“b. When, by reason of a power failure or other malfunction, a traffic control signal at an intersection is not illuminated, the driver of a vehicle or street car shall, with respect to that intersection, observe the requirement for a stop intersection, as provided in R.S.39:4-144.”

This means that you must obey the traffic signals, whether you are a motorist or a pedestrian, unless a traffic officer or police directs you to do otherwise. If the traffic control signal isn’t working, you must still stop at the intersection and yield the right of way in accordance with the traffic laws.

MVC points and penalties

Failure to observe traffic signals results in the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) adding two points to your driving record. Keep in mind that if you accumulate six or more points on your New Jersey driving record within three years, you’ll be subject to a surcharge; if you get 12 or more points at any time, your license will be suspended.

Fines

The traffic fine for failing to observe a traffic signal is $85. However, if you commit this motor vehicle violation in a designated safe corridor, construction zone, or 65-mile-per-hour area, the ticket is $140.

The municipal court can also fine you from $50 to $200 and/or imprison you in state prison for up to 15 days.

Insurance rates

Additionally, New Jersey-licensed automobile insurance providers will add two “insurance eligibility points,” which means higher insurance rates. If you accumulate too many points, you won’t be able to get insurance coverage through the voluntary market at all, and you’ll have to purchase coverage through the more expensive New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (NJPAIP).

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    Hi Mr. Matrafajlo, I just wanted to say thank you for your representation today and obtaining a positive outcome in regards to my case. Please don’t take offense, but I hope not to have to meet you again too soon! I will however, recommend your name to anyone in need of a great defense lawyer. Warmest regards, Carmen

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    I own a taxi cab business and on occasion I personally drive to pick-up a client/fare when all my employees/ drivers are busy on other dispatches. A few days before New Year ’s Day I had to pick-up a client at the Newark Airport and all my drivers were busy picking up fares, so I decided top pick up the client in my own personal car. Basically, I was stopped by Port Authority Police and issued $7,000.00 in summons. They issued me everything under the sun, such as operating a private vehicle for commercial means, not having a fire extinguisher, not having a license to operate the vehicle as a taxi, etc. I hired Danny and ALL the tickets were dismissed on the trial date. I thought I was going to have to pay some fine but never expected to walk away without even a fine. From that date forward, Danny has and will continue to represent me and all my drivers on any future traffic violations. Thanks again.

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    The best thing I could have done was hire Mr. Danny M. I still can’t pronounce his last name! When I was charged with several traffic offenses I received so many letter advertisements from attorneys promising the world. I didn’t know what attorney to pick. Then my friend told me to give Dan a call because he was the best. Now I can truly say, Danny is the best.

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    I was charged with driving a vehicle without auto insurance, and I thought I would lose my New Jersey driver’s license for a whole year, especially when I felt I had no defenses. If I lost my driver’s license, my life was going to come to a crashing halt because I have a baby girl to take care of without any real family help. All I can say is Dan got me off the charge with a $100.00 fine. I will never ignore an insurance payment, and I am deeply gratefully for Dan’s dedication to my case.

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    Dan has been my attorney for approximately 6 months, the length of my DWI case. I'm extremely happy with Dan's legal services. He answered all my questions, but more importantly, we won the case. When I was initially charged with a DWI I assumed I was going to be found guilty, especially since I was involved in an accident and charged with leaving the scene as well. Even with those circumstances Dan had me acquitted--based on some legal technicality. Dan will be my attorney for life!

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    I've used Dan as a lawyer for a plethora of cases and for legal advice, I can whole heartedly tell you that he will be my attorney for life. I've referred him to numerous friends for personal injury, prenuptial, criminal, civil and traffic cases, and they all have been very satisfied with his work and knowledge of the law. Dan will get your case squared away, you can be assured of his fortitude.

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