Failure to Stop for a Traffic Light (NJSA 39:4-105)
In this article, Dan Matrafajlo will explain the color system used for New Jersey traffic lights as described in NJSA 39:4-105.
What the Lights Mean
A green light means permission for a driver to go, as long as it is safe to do so. A red light means that a driver must stop before entering an intersection or a crosswalk and wait for the light to turn green before proceeding.
A yellow light means that a driver must stop before entering an intersection or crosswalk, unless he is so close to the intersection that he cannot do so safely. The statute specifies that at a speed of 20 miles per hour, a driver must stop if he is more than 50 feet from the intersection when the light turns yellow.
Penalties for Failing to Stop for a Traffic Light
If you disobey a traffic light in New Jersey, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission will punish the offense by putting two points on your driving record. These two points alone don’t trigger any bad effects (unlike insurance points, discussed in the next section). However, they don’t expire, and the points earned from multiple smaller traffic violations can add up to big trouble. Getting six points on your record in any three-year period will result in a $150 surcharge (plus $25 for each additional point). Twelve or more points on your record at one time will result in your license being suspended. Up to three points can be removed for participating in a state-approved safe driver program, but there is a limit to how frequently you can deduct points in this way.
Effects on Your Insurance Premium
New Jersey-licensed automobile insurance providers have a similar system of “insurance eligibility points.” Points you have received within the last three years are used to determine how much you must pay for liability coverage. If you have too many insurance points, you may not be able to purchase insurance on the voluntary market, and will instead need to get coverage through the more expensive New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (NJPAIP). A violation of NJSA 39:4-105 is worth two insurance points.
What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket in New Jersey
If you have been accused of a New Jersey traffic violation, you may be looking forward to three years of increased insurance premiums, and may also face fines or even a loss of your driving privilege (if you have prior traffic violations on your driving record, or at the judge’s discretion).