New Jersey nears tougher rules on lane use

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/2/2013

Multiple bills of note in New Jersey are intended to make travel safer for everyone on the state’s roadways.

The Senate voted 32-2 to send a bill to Gov. Chris Christie that’s supposed to improve safety on the state’s roadways through the threat of increased fines. Assembly lawmakers already approved it on a 69-7 vote.

The Garden State already prohibits drivers from hanging out in the left lane. Motorists have limited left lane use while trucks and buses are forbidden from any travel in the far-left lane on highways with at least three lanes in each direction.

Exceptions are made for trucks to enter or exit the roadway from the left lane or to respond to “emergency conditions.”

S530 would increase fines from a minimum of $50 to as much as $300 for motorists who fail to keep right except when overtaking another vehicle.

“A driver who is not obeying this law can be aggravating, but it’s also unsafe to obstruct traffic flow,” Assemblyman “Whip” Wilson, D-Camden/Gloucester, said in a news release. “This bill is, quite simply, a public safety issue and common sense.”

Another provision specifies that $50 of each fine would be put into a fund to pay for signage reminding motorists entering the state to keep right excepting for passing. A fiscal note attached to the bill estimates that $91,700 would be deposited into the fund each year.

Changes made to the bill in the Assembly make accommodations to truck traffic. If signed into law, truckers could drive up to one mile in the far-left lane when preparing to turn, enter or exit the roadway. Also, emergency conditions would include occasions with poor visibility, snow and wrecks.

Another bill headed to the governor’s desk would benefit New Jersey truckers and motorists with diabetes. Specifically, A945 would allow affected drivers to voluntarily note the condition on their driver’s license.

The “Insulin Dependent Diabetic” notation is intended to aid emergency personnel in providing proper care if the person is unable to communicate.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey click here.

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