Slow Speed Blocking Traffic (NJSA 39:4-97.1)

Exceeding the speed limit on a highway in New Jersey is one of the most commonly ticketed traffic offenses, and most people, even if they have not received speeding tickets themselves, probably know someone who has.A less common New Jersey traffic violation, but one that is illegal nonetheless, is driving too slowly.

NJSA 39:4-97.1 states, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.”

Unlike NJSA 39:4-98, which prescribes a certain set of penalties for going one mile per hour over the speed limit and another set for going 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, NJSA 39:4-97.1 doesn’t explicitly set forth a speed at which you are considered to be going too slow. This is because what constitutes a safe speed depends on factors like whether a road is winding or straight, narrow or wide. Pedestrians, traffic, weather, and highway conditions also affect the speed a driver can safely drive.

Fines and Penalties

The fine for driving too slow and impeding traffic is $85. If you are convicted of or plead guilty to the offense, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission will also add two points to your driving record. If you get six points on your record in one three-year period, you will need to pay a $150 fine (plus $25 for each point above six). If you get 12 points on your record at any time, your license will be suspended. Points do not expire, so several smaller violations can combine to trigger bigger penalties. However, three points will be subtracted from your total for each year you go without a traffic violation or a license suspension.

Effects on Insurance

If you violate NJSA 39:4-97.1, your insurance company will add two “insurance eligibility points” to your record. These points are used to determine the level of risk you pose to your insurer and consequently, the amount you will have to pay in premiums. A conviction or guilty plea will result in increased insurance rates for three years.

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