Improper Right or Left Turn (NJSA 39:4-123)
In this article, New Jersey traffic attorney Dan Matrafajlo will discuss New Jersey Annotated Statute 39:4-123, which describes the proper method for making turns on New Jersey roadways. Section 39:4-123(a) says that when making a right turn, a driver’s approach and the turn itself must both be made “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.”
Section 39:4-123(b), discussing left turns on two-way roadways, says that a driver shall stay on the right side of the road before and after making a turn, but while approaching the turn shall stay in “that portion of the right half of the roadway nearest the center line thereof.” During the turn, a driver should pass to the left of the center of the intersection “whenever practicable.”
Section 39:4123(c) says that when making a left turn at any intersection where traffic is restricted to one direction on one or more of the roadways, a driver must approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in his direction and should end the turn in the leftmost lane lawfully available to traffic moving in his direction on the intersecting street.
NJSA 39:4-123 may sound a little complicated, but it basically amounts to, “Don’t turn across one or more lanes of traffic.”
Fines and Penalties for Improper Right or Left Turn
A driver who pleads guilty to or is convicted of making an improper turn under NJSA 39:4-123 faces an $85 fine ($140 in a construction zone). In addition, you will get three points on your driving record for this violation. If you get six points on your record in one three-year period, you will need to pay a $150 surcharge, plus $25 for each additional point. If at any time you have 12 points on your record, your license will be suspended. Points do not expire, but three points will be deducted from your total for each year you go without a traffic violation or a license suspension.
A conviction or guilty plea will also get you three “insurance eligibility points,” which are used by auto insurance companies to gauge the risk you present. More points mean higher insurance premiums, and if you get more than seven points, you may need to buy more expensive coverage through the New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (NJPAIP). Unlike the points on your driving record, insurance points expire after three years.
What to Do If You’ve Been Accused of Violating NJSA 39:4-123
If you have been charged with making an improper right or left turn, you could be facing severe penalties, especially if you have a record of prior traffic violations. An experienced New Jersey traffic attorney will help defend your rights in court and may negotiate a lower penalty or even get the charges dropped outright. Call Dan Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404 to schedule a free consultation.