ASSEMBLY, No. 4470

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 15, 2022

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  JOSEPH V. EGAN

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Assemblyman  WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Concerns trucks driving in farthest left-hand lane on State highway system and State toll roads.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain commercial motor vehicle traffic regulation, amending R.S.39:4-88 and P.L.2013, c.86, and supplementing Title 27 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  R.S.39:4-88 is amended to read as follows:

     39:4-88.      When a roadway has been divided into clearly marked lanes for traffic, drivers of vehicles shall obey the following regulations:

     a.     A vehicle shall normally be driven in the lane nearest the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway when that lane is available for travel, except when overtaking another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn.

     b.    A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety.

     c.     Upon a highway which is divided into [3] three lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking or passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or unless the center lane is at the time allocated for traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is signposted to give notice of that allocation.

     d.    The [State Highway] Commissioner of Transportation may by regulation or local authorities may by resolution or ordinance with respect to highways under their jurisdiction designate right-hand lanes for slow moving traffic and inside lanes for traffic moving at the speed designated for the district as provided under this chapter, and when the lanes are signposted or marked to give notice of the designation a vehicle may be driven in any lane allocated to traffic moving in the direction in which it is proceeding, but when traveling within the inside lanes the vehicle shall be driven at approximately the speed authorized in such lanes and speed shall not be decreased unnecessarily so as to block, hinder or retard traffic.

     e.     When such roadway had been divided in such a manner that there are [three] two or more lanes for traffic in any one direction, no truck of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or over shall be driven in the farthest left-hand lane, except:

     (1)   when and to the extent necessary to prepare for a left turn; a truck may be driven in the farthest left lane for up to one mile to prepare for a left hand turn as authorized under this paragraph;

     (2)   when necessary to enter or leave such roadway by entrance or exit to or from the left lane; a truck may be driven in the farthest left lane for up to one mile to prepare to enter or leave the roadway as authorized under this paragraph;

     (3)   when reasonably necessary in response to emergency conditions; for the purposes of this paragraph, "emergency conditions" shall include, but not be limited to: poor visibility, snow, accidents, or the presence of emergency vehicles.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.86, s.1)

 

     2.  Section 2 of P.L.2013, c.86 (C.39:4-88.1) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    The penalty for a violation of failing to keep right under R.S.39:4-82 or failure to observe traffic lanes under R.S.39:4-88 shall be a fine of not less than $100 or more than $300, except that the penalty for a violation of subsection e. of R.S.39:4-88 shall be a fine of not less than $200 or more than $600.  In addition to any fine that may be imposed, a surcharge of $50 shall be imposed on each person found guilty of a violation of R.S.39:4-82 or R.S.39:4-88. The State Treasurer shall annually deposit the surcharge into the fund established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2013, c.86 (C.39:4-88.2).

     A person alleged to have violated subsection e. of R.S.39:4-88 shall not be permitted to enter a guilty or not guilty plea or submit a defense for use at trial by mail or in an electronic system approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.86, s.2)

 

     3.  (New section)  The Commissioner of Transportation shall erect and maintain signs that inform operators of trucks with registered gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more that operating such trucks in the farthest left-hand lane is prohibited under subsection e. of R.S.39:4-88.  The signs shall be erected and maintained on roadways with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction, that are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, and on which such trucks are permitted to travel.  The signs shall conform to the standards and guidance of the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways,” prepared by the Federal Highway Administration in the United States Department of Transportation.

 

     4.  (New section)  a.  Notwithstanding any regulation to the contrary, where a roadway under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has been divided in such a manner that there are two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction, no truck of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more shall be driven in the farthest left-hand lane, except when reasonably necessary to:

     (1)   prepare for a left turn, except that a truck may only be driven in the farthest left lane for up to one mile to prepare for a left hand turn;

     (2)   enter or leave such roadway by entrance or exit to or from the left lane, except that a truck may only be driven in the farthest left lane for up to one mile to prepare to enter or leave the roadway; or

     (3)   respond to emergency conditions, including, but not limited to, poor visibility, snow, accidents, or the presence of emergency vehicles.

     b.    The penalty for a violation of subsection a. of this section shall be a fine of not less than $200 or more than $600.  A person alleged to have violated subsection a. of this section shall not be permitted to enter a guilty or not guilty plea or submit a defense for use at trial by mail or in an electronic system approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

     c.     Nothing in this section shall prohibit the authority from adopting further restrictions on trucks of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more from traveling in the farthest left-hand lane or middle lanes, as applicable, of a roadway with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction.

 

     5.  (New section)  The Executive Director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority shall erect and maintain signs that inform operators of trucks with registered gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more that operating such trucks in the farthest left-hand lane is prohibited under section 4 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The signs shall be erected and maintained on roadways with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction, that are under the jurisdiction of the authority, and on which such trucks are permitted to travel.  The signs shall conform to the standards and guidance of the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways,” prepared by the Federal Highway Administration in the United States Department of Transportation.

 

     6.  (New section)  a.  Notwithstanding any regulation to the contrary, where a roadway under the jurisdiction of the South Jersey Transportation Authority has been divided in such a manner that there are two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction, no truck of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more shall be driven in the farthest left-hand lane, except when reasonably necessary to:

     (1)   prepare for a left turn, except that a truck may only be driven in the farthest left lane for up to one mile to prepare for a left hand turn;

     (2)   enter or leave such roadway by entrance or exit to or from the left lane, except that a truck may only be driven in the farthest left lane for up to one mile to prepare to enter or leave the roadway; or

     (3)   respond to emergency conditions, including, but not limited to, poor visibility, snow, accidents, or the presence of emergency vehicles.

     b.    The penalty for a violation of subsection a. of this section shall be a fine of not less than $200 or more than $600.  A person alleged to have violated subsection a. of this section shall not be permitted to enter a guilty or not guilty plea or submit a defense for use at trial by mail or in an electronic system approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

     c.     Nothing in this section shall prohibit the authority from adopting further restrictions on trucks of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more from traveling in the farthest left-hand lane or middle lanes, as applicable, of a roadway with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction.

 

     7.  (New section)  The Executive Director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority shall erect and maintain signs that inform operators of trucks with registered gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more that operating such trucks in the farthest left-hand lane is prohibited under section 6 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The signs shall be erected and maintained on roadways with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction, that are under the jurisdiction of the authority, and on which such trucks are permitted to travel.  The signs shall conform to the standards and guidance of the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways,” prepared by the Federal Highway Administration in the United States Department of Transportation.

 

     8.  (New section)  The Commissioner of Transportation, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the Executive Director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority, and the Administrative Director of the Courts, shall jointly prepare and submit a written report on an annual basis to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature, that includes:

     a.  the number of signs posted throughout the State indicating that trucks of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more are generally prohibited from driving in the farthest left-hand lane of roadways with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction; and

     b.  for each applicable roadway in the State, the number of tickets issued, violations committed, and revenue collected for violations of subsection e. of R.S.39:4-88, section 4 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and section 6 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), as applicable.

 

     9.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month after enactment.

STATEMENT

 

     This bill prohibits trucks of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more from operating in the left lane of roadway with two or more lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction and includes a fine of not less than $200 to not more than $600 for this violation.  Current law prohibits such trucks from operating in the farthest left-hand lane of a roadway with three or more lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction and imposes a fine of not less than $100 to not more than $300 for such violation.

     The bill increases the fines for a violation of operating a truck of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more in the farthest left-hand lane of certain roadways.  The bill increases the fine for this violation to a fine of not less than $200 or more than $600.

     The bill prohibits a person from operating a truck of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more in the farthest left-hand lane on roadways with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction that are under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority, including the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway.  The bill provides certain exemptions for trucks preparing for a left turn, entering or leaving the roadway by entrance or exit to or from the left lane, and in response to emergency conditions.

     The bill also prohibits a person who is alleged to have operated a truck of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more in the farthest left-hand lane to enter a guilty or not guilty plea or submit a defense for use at trial by mail or in an electronic system, thereby requiring the person to appear in court.

     The bill requires the Commissioner of Transportation, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and the Executive Director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority to erect and maintain signs on roadways under the jurisdiction of each respective agency that inform operators of the general prohibition of driving a truck of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more in the farthest left-hand lane on roadways with two or more lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction.

     The Commissioner of Transportation, Executive Director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, Executive Director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority, and the Administrative Director of the Courts are required to jointly prepare and submit an annual report concerning the number of signs posted in the State indicating that trucks of 10,000 pounds registered gross weight or more are generally prohibited from driving in the farthest left-hand lane on certain roadways and the number of tickets issued, violations committed, and revenue collected for such violations.