When you are in a hurry or simply frustrated while sitting in traffic, it may be tempting to pass other cars. Although this may seem justified to you, if you improperly pass another vehicle, you may be fined. Under New Jersey law, there are few tickets that may be as damaging to your driving record as improper passing.
Although improper passing may seem like a very minor offense, it is actually on the books as a four point violation. This means, even if you have a perfect driving record, the four points will remain on your record for at least two years. A simple lane change can also bring you significantly closer or even over the 12-point limit for a Persistent Violator suspension by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
What Is Considered “Improper Passing” in New Jersey?
Under the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code, specifically N.J.S.A. 39:4-84, 4-85 & 4-86, a violation of improper passing can occur in the following four ways:
- Passing a vehicle proceeding in the opposite direction on the left rather than the right;
- Passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction on the right unless the other vehicle is about to make a left turn or there are at least two lanes of traffic proceeding in that direction;
- Driving to the left of the center of the highway to pass a vehicle moving in the same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic far enough ahead to permit safe passing.
- Crossing a “No Passing” solid line on the highway, unless directed to do so by a police officer or traffic controller.
The Penalties for Improper Passing
The punishment for improper passing is punishable in various ways including:
- An assessment of a $50 to $200 fine;
- Imprisonment not exceeding 15 days; OR
- Both a monetary fine and prison sentence.
Jail time is rather rare or unlikely for a violation of improper passing unless your ticket was issued for an extremely egregious and willful conduct. Such tickets are generally issued where the improper passing was couple with reckless driving, speeding at least 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, or the improper passing resulted in an accident that involved a serious injury or death.
The monetary fines for improper passing is generally enhanced if the violation occurs in a designated “safe corridors” and/or “construction zone.” In addition, your driving privileges may also be suspended for an improper passing, depending on the specific facts of your case.
If you or someone you know has received a traffic violation for improper passing, be certain to consult with an attorney who specifically handles these types of cases. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with New Jersey driver’s license suspension attorney Dan Matrafajlo, please call the Law Offices of Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404.