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.


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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23:51 03 Aug 21
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00:58 28 Jul 21
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08:34 19 Nov 20
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13:55 30 Oct 20
Dan represented me on a traffic violation in NJ, very professional and was easy to work with. Office staff was very attentive. Would highly recommend him...
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18:12 21 Sep 20
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05:26 13 Sep 20
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15:10 09 Sep 20
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14:24 19 Aug 20
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16:36 22 Jul 20
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23:25 16 Jul 20
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21:26 19 May 20
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14:50 29 Mar 20
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17:03 16 Mar 20
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22:48 29 Feb 20
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19:20 27 Feb 20
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00:16 30 Jan 20
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15:21 28 Oct 19
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08:03 11 Oct 19
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22:11 16 Jul 19
Best Lawyer ever very professional flights to the very end To make sure his client is happy with the decision of a case
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01:44 28 Jun 19
Dan is the best lawyer I have ever met he did not give up he said he was going to help me and that's definitely what he did I am grateful to have him as my attorney and I will highly recommend him to anyone looking for help p.s and everyone that works at the office is extremely professional polites and very nice and I thank you as well keep up the great work
Albert F.
10:54 20 May 19
Mr. Matrafajlo and his staff are both professional and kind. He went to court 5 times over 6+months fighting a traffic ticket that would of suspended my license and caused me thousands in fine and surcharges.It was dismissed with zero owed to the courts after proving DMV administrative discrepancies.Thank you so much for all your helpRenee
Renee O.
14:07 11 May 19
Mr. Matrafajlo and his staff are both professional and kind. He went to court 5 times over 6+months fighting a traffic ticket that would of suspended my...
Renee O.
07:03 11 May 19
First of all, I admired Dan for his understanding by putting himself on his clients shoes and fight for their best interest (outcome). For me, the definition of a great lawyer are those who "deliver" and he does.
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16:22 03 Apr 19
I am writing this review almost a decade after the fact......Mr. Matrafajlo is an excellent attorney. He did everything in his power to help me out. I would recommend him to anyone that was in need of an attorney.
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23:24 01 Mar 19
The best of the best! I would definitely recommend Dan to my family and friends. Very professional and goes above and beyond to answer questions and to get the best results!
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20:43 18 Jan 19
I got a 3 point ticket for doing an unsafe turn. I ended up hiring Matrafajlo. He seemed pretty confident he can get the ticket reduced to obstruction of...
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09:06 17 Jan 19
I would definitely recommend Dan and his team to friends and family. The staff was very knowledgeable and helpful every time I reached out with questions. Dan and Teresa aka the Dream Team!! Everyone went above and beyond for little ‘ol me! Job well done!!
18:29 07 Nov 18
Dan really went above and beyond for my case . I was wrongfully accused of reckless driving . He could of just told me to take first plea deal and been done with it . Instead he suggested I refuse . The prosecutor in turn ran us around for months refusing to budge. Dan was sted fast in his support for me and never wavered. What started as a reckless driving which is a criminal offense ended as an unsafe driving ( 0 point offense). All thanks to Dan's hard work and perseverance
Cj C.
23:13 16 Sep 18
The best of the best, there's no other choice if you're looking for legal representation. Simply an incredible attorney. Helped me get out of a serious jam.
Jim G.
22:51 08 May 18
Dan Matrafajlo was fantastic. From the moment I hired him he handled everything from scheduling my court date to representing me with my traffic ticket. Literally, all I had to do was show up to court. He put me at ease throughout the whole process and had my fine reduced dramatically!!I highly recommend him.
A J S.
02:40 26 Apr 18
Dan Matrafajlo one the best attorneys ever I was completely satisfied and he has one of the best teams working for him .. I would and have recommended him .
Janie C.
03:37 25 Apr 18
Represented my mother when she had an accident, highly recommend him as an attorney
george G.
20:57 25 Mar 18
I don't know much about Beninato but I know a lot about Matrafajlo
Danny Matrafajlo is very ambitious, smart, knowlegable, helpful lawyer I have ever know.
Keep that way Danny
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family
Julia B.
05:10 23 Nov 17
Saint Augustine U.
16:00 30 Aug 17
Few months back, my husband had injured in a car accident. It seemed to be a small injury, but in fact it was brain injury and the truck who hit our car, ran away. We were so confused that how to survive and get compensation for brain injury. At that time, from my friend's reference, I got to know about Beninato & Matrafajlo Law, The firm handled our case very carefully and passionately, took the right steps for us and helped us in getting compensation.Thanks to Beninato & Matrafajlo Law!
Catelyn M.
05:42 26 Jul 17
Dan is an outstanding lawyer he has handled personal injury cases for me for a couple of my friends he has handled matrimonial and Municipal Court tickets and everyone is happy with his services
Sove A.
20:05 23 Jul 17
I was referred to Dan Mantrafajlo by a dear friend of my that I respect greatly. This friend said that Dan was the type of lawyer that made the hard work she was putting into law school worth it...I found this to be very true. Professional, hard working, informed and willing to go above and beyond. This is a real review from a real client.
Damon O.
08:12 20 Jul 17
Very professional. I highly recommend it to anybody.
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01:46 12 Jul 17
Simply put he is the best! He was professional, prompt and always acted in my best interest. Couldn't have expected a better outcome.
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02:44 25 Apr 17
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Jola K.
13:36 28 Dec 16
Best attorney you can have!!!
Natasha G.
01:07 22 Dec 16
Mr. Matrafajlo has represented me in a civil case where I was struck and injured by another vehicle.His professionalism and hard work truly made my experience seamless. There will be unpredictable measures that life throws at you, it always helps to have someone you trust by your side.I highly recommend Mr. Matrafajlo or anyone in this law firm to represent them if need be.-Zack
Zack E.
16:30 10 Dec 16
Michell L.
12:37 31 Oct 16
Dan is the best lawyer EVER!!!!!!!! Will recommend him to anyone that needs!!!
Melissa De A.
00:25 31 Oct 16
Dan Matrafajlo excellent lawyer. He solved my two previous cases. Individual approach, prompt actions, purposefully moving toward the success. Thank you Dan, yes you are the best of the best.
Svitlana C.
02:14 12 Sep 16
Teresa A.
16:31 30 Jul 15
Dan is an excellent attorney. Unlike most attorneys Dan actually cares about your case. He went the extra mile and did countless hours of research to help me win my case.I'd give him 10 stars if I was able to.
rob C.
14:44 31 Mar 15
I starting using Dan after a VERY bad experience with a previous attorney who took advantage of our family. Dan is a great lawyer and very competent. While he specializes in personal injury, he and his office staff proved themselves on multiple occasions to be more then competent in other areas of the law. He's quick to respond and always makes us feel like our case is his top priority. I have since referred him to multiple people and their experience has been a positive one as well. His rates are reasonable and he has no desire to drag things out, file extension after extension etc. and rack up my bill as our previous attorney did. We highly recommend Dan Matrafajilo Esq., as does everyone I know who have used his services before.
Jeff D.
16:49 02 Oct 14
Conrad W.
01:52 22 Aug 14
I highly recommend Dan if you you need help with a legal issue. He has first hand knowledge of the local courts and will fight for you.
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00:23 01 May 14
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03:56 11 Nov 13
Dan is the best attorney ever!!!
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03:05 02 May 13

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