New Jersey bill would toughen brake light law on passenger vehicles

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/13/2013

A generation of truckers and other drivers traveling America’s roads are accustomed to seeing three brake lights illuminate when a passenger vehicle ahead is slowing down.

New Jersey law requires that passenger vehicles have two working brake lights. However, since the fall of 1985 affected vehicles must also be equipped with a high-mounted rear stoplight.

A bill nearing passage at the New Jersey statehouse would change the rule on working brake lights to punish motorists if any one of the brake lights doesn’t work.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to the Senate floor that would authorize $47 fines for a non-working light. If approved there, A354 would move to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. Assembly lawmakers already approved it by unanimous consent.

Senate Transportation Chairman Nicholas Sacco, D-Hudson, said the change is necessary because drivers are used to watching for the third brake light while driving, and a blown bulb could reduce someone’s reaction time.

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