Brake Light Repair Bill
Under current law, passenger vehicles in New Jersey are only legally required to have two functioning brake lights in order to be considered ‘road safe’. This is despite the fact that almost all modern vehicles have a third, high mounted brake light. Many motorists have come to rely on this third light in order to brake in time, particularly when traveling on the highways. Since safety inspections were eliminated in 2010, auto repair professionals throughout the state have reported that fewer of their customers are keeping their vehicles properly maintained.
A few years ago, a motorist was pulled over by a police officer for having a non-functioning high-mounted brake-light. The officer discovered that the driver was drunk and arrested him. Later, the drunk driver’s lawyer successfully argued that because that third light was not legally required to be functioning, the police officer did not have a right to pull the driver over, and therefore the charges were dismissed.
In 2011, a bill was introduced to address this issue and bring the current statutes up to date with the present times. The bill, A-354/S-3028, is sponsored by Assemblymembers Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex), Gary Chiusano (R-Sussex), and Marlene Caride (D-Bergen), as well as Senator Nick Sacco (D-Hudson). It is cosponsored by Assemblymembers Alison McHose (R-Sussex), John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), and Parker Space (R-Sussex).
To read the language of the bill, please click here.
On September 27, 2012, the bill passed the Assembly Transportation Committee 11-0. On April 29, 2013 the bill was passed by the General Assembly 76-0. On November 7, 2013 the Senate Transportation Committee passed the bill 4-0. It now awaits a full vote in the State Senate before it can be sent to Governor Christie for a signature in order to become law.
To read testimony in support of the bill delivered by NJGCA please click here.
To listen to an audio recording of the testimony delivered by NJGCA’s Government Affairs Assistant Eric Blomgren, please click here.