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Penalties for Failing to Keep Right on New Jersey Highways

New Jersey and other states have laws requiring drivers to keep right unless they are passing. These laws are designed to keep the extreme left lane free from “left lane hogs” because they create dangerous situations for other motorists.

Under NJ Rev Stat § 39:4-82, drivers in New Jersey must drive in the right lane unless they are passing another vehicle or turning left.

When a car blocks the left lane, it increases both danger and traffic congestion. Slow drivers encourage other cars to tailgate, which causes a line of drivers traveling too close to one another. Driving too slowly can be as dangerous as driving too fast. In recognition of these dangers, the New Jersey Assembly imposes stiff penalties for drivers who fail to keep right.

Under NJ Rev Stat § 39:4-88.1, failing to keep right can result in a fine of between $100 and $300. This represents an increase in the former penalties and was designed by New Jersey lawmakers to educate the public and create safer driving habits in the state. As an added tool to educate the public, an additional surcharge of $50 is being added to all tickets for failure to keep right. That money goes into a fund to install and maintain road signs educating the public about keeping to the right as the danger and consequences of blocking traffic on major highways like the New Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway. Additionally, the offense will result in two points added to their driver’s abstract and record.

Another part of the failure to keep right law is aimed at truck drivers. Trucks over 5 tons on a divided highway face an increased penalty for driving in the left lane. Trucks may only use the left lane to enter or exit a roadway unless there is an emergency, or they are within one mile of making a left turn. “Trucks, busses, and commercial vehicles driving in the left-hand lane cause traffic to move slowly and can force other drivers into dangerous situations. It is important for large rigs, busses, and tractor-trailers to stay to the right,” says New Jersey truck accident lawyer Marc Saperstein. “I know from my experience the tragic consequences of tractor trailers speeding in the left lane. Often their negligence or their carelessness can cause the wrongful death or serious injuries to other innocent drivers.”

It is unfortunate that many drivers and their passengers are unnecessarily injured by interstate truckers every year in accidents caused by drivers passing on the right or swerving through lanes. Many of those injured people are our guests from out of state lawfully driving on New Jersey and New York’s interstate highways such as I95, Route I80, 287, or Route 78.

The personal injury lawyers of Davis, Saperstein, and Salomon, P.C., help persons injured in car and truck accidents in New Jersey and New York. They have years of experience handling traffic accident wrongful death cases, and they work hard to get accident victims and their families the compensation they deserve. With over 35 years of experience representing people injured in truck accidents, Marc Saperstein understands the complex legal issues involved in these cases. As an accident injury lawyer who concentrates his practice in New York and New Jersey, Marc Saperstein handles many trucking accident cases.

At our New Jersey personal injury law firm, we have over 30 attorneys. Since 1981, the dedicated attorneys of our firm have obtained over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements and helped thousands of families achieve justice. Contact Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. to receive a free review of your case and an explanation of your legal options.

This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in October 2022.

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Since 1981, the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon have been delivering results for our deserving clients. We are solely committed to helping injured individuals, never representing corporations. No matter how large or small your personal injury case is, you can trust that it is important to us.