New Jersey boosts fines for violating keep right rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/12/2013

Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill that’s intended to improve safety on New Jersey’s roadways through the threat of increased fines.

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.”

Previously S530, the new law increases 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 new law is, quite simply, a public safety issue and common sense.”

Another provision in the new law 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. Truckers are permitted to drive up to one mile in the far-left lane when preparing to turn, enter or exit the roadway. Also, emergency conditions include occasions with poor visibility, snow and wrecks.

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