ASSEMBLY, No. 354

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

Assemblyman  PETER J. BARNES, III

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  GARY R. CHIUSANO

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires all lamps and lighting devices on motor vehicles be kept in working order.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning motor vehicle lighting and amending R.S.39:3-61 and R.S.39:3-66.

 

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

 

     1.    R.S.39:3-61 is amended to read as follows:

     39:3-61.  (a) Every motor vehicle other than a motor cycle and other than a motor-drawn vehicle shall be equipped on the front with at least 2 headlamps, an equal number at each side, and with 2 turn signals, one on each side;  and on the rear with 2 tail lamps, 2 stop lamps, 2 turn signals and 2 reflectors, one of each at each side;  except that a passenger vehicle manufactured before July 2, 1954, and registered in this State may be equipped with one stop lamp, one reflector and one tail lamp and is not required to be equipped with turn signals.  In addition, every such vehicle shall be equipped with adequate license plate illumination, and with one or more lamps capable of providing parking light as required in section 39:3-62.  Turn signals are not required on  the rear of a truck tractor equipped with double-faced turn signals on or near  the front and so constructed and located as to be visible to passing drivers.

     (b)   Every truck tractor manufactured after January 1, 1965, shall be equipped on the front with 2 clearance lamps, one at each side, and 3 identification lamps, which shall be in addition to the lamps provided for in paragraph (a) of this section.  Where the cab is not more than 42 inches wide at the front roof line, a single lamp at the center of the cab shall be deemed to comply with the requirement for front identification lamps. Reflectors required on the rear of a truck tractor may be located on the rear of the cab, one at each side.

     (c)   Every truck 80 inches or more in over-all width except a dump truck and  except a truck 80 inches or more in over-all width which is not in excess of 25  feet in over-all length and manufactured prior to January 1, 1965, shall be  equipped with the following lamps and reflectors in addition to those provided  for in paragraph (a) of this section;

     On the front, 2 clearance lamps, one at each side, and 3 identification lamps except that where the cab is not more than 42 inches wide at the front roof line, a single lamp at the center of the cab shall be deemed to comply with the requirement for front identification lamps;

     On the rear, 2 clearance lamps, one at each side, and 3 identification lamps;

     On each side, one side-marker lamp and one reflector at or near the front, and one side-marker lamp and one reflector at or near the rear.

     (d)   Every trailer or semitrailer shall be equipped on the rear with 2 tail lamps, 2 stop lamps, 2 turn signals and 2 reflectors, one of each at each side,  and with adequate license plate illumination.

     (e)   Every trailer or semitrailer 80 inches or more in over-all width, except  a dump truck trailer, a dump truck semitrailer or a converter dolly, shall be  equipped with the following lamps and reflectors in addition to those provided  for in paragraph (d) of this section:

     On the front, 2 clearance lamps, one at each side;

     On the rear, 2 clearance lamps, one at each side, and except with respect to  cable reel trailers, 3 identification lamps;

     On each side, one side-marker lamp and one reflector at or near the front, and one side-marker lamp and one reflector at or near the rear;  and on any such vehicle 30 feet or more in length, at least one additional side-marker lamp at optional height and at least one additional reflector, the additional lamp (or lamps) and reflector (or reflectors) to be at or near the center or at  approximately uniform spacing in the length of the vehicle.

     (f)    Every pole trailer shall be equipped as follows:

     On the rear, 2 tail lamps, one at each side;  2 stop lamps, one at each side;  2 turn signals, one at each side;  2 reflectors, one at each side, placed to indicate extreme width of the pole trailer;  3 identification lamps mounted on the vertical center line of the pole trailer or in lieu thereof mounted on the vertical center line of the rear of the cab of the truck tractor  drawing the pole trailer and higher than the load being transported.

     On each side, one amber side-marker lamp at or near the front of the load; one amber reflector at or near the front of the load;  on the rearmost support for the load, one combination marker lamp showing amber to the front and red to  the rear and side, mounted to indicate maximum width of the pole trailer; on  the rearmost support for the load, one red reflector.

     Nothing in this subsection (f) shall apply to a single axle, skeleton frame  trailer, not exceeding 2,500 pounds net weight and not exceeding 80 inches in  over-all width which is designed to transport poles and is owned by a public  utility as defined in section 48:2-13 of the Revised Statutes except that such  vehicles shall be required to have on the rear, 2 tail lamps, one at each side;   2 stop lamps, one at each side;  2 turn signals, one at each side;  2  reflectors, one at each side on each side;  and one amber side-marker lamp at  or near the front of the load.

     (g)   Every converter dolly not permanently attached to a semitrailer shall be  equipped on the rear with one stop lamp, one tail lamp, 2 reflectors, one at  each side, and adequate license plate illumination. These lamps need be lighted only when the converter dolly is being towed singly by another vehicle.   A  "converter dolly"  is a vehicle with a fifth wheel lower half or equivalent  mechanism, the attachment of which converts a semitrailer to a trailer.

     (h)   Every motor cycle shall be equipped with at least one and not more than  2 headlamps, one tail lamp, one stop lamp, at least one reflector on the rear,  adequate license plate illumination and, if a side car or any other extension  is attached to the side thereof, one lamp located on the outside limit of the  attachment capable of displaying white light to the front.

     (i)    Required lamps and reflectors shall be of a type approved by the director.  Turn signals shall be Class A Type 1 lamps except that on passenger cars, and on commercial vehicles less than 80 inches in over-all width they may  be Class B lamps.  Reflectors shall be Class A reflex reflectors except that on  passenger cars they may be Class B reflex reflectors.

     (j)    [Required] All headlamps, tail lamps, clearance lamps, identification lamps and side-marker lamps shall be lighted and adequate license plate illumination displayed whenever the vehicle other than a converter dolly is upon a highway when lighted lamps are required except when parked and exhibiting lights as provided for in section 39:3-62 or when stopped and displaying emergency warning lights or devices as provided for in section 39:3-64 or section 39:3-54.  Lamps on a converter dolly shall be lighted as provided for in paragraph (g) of this section.  Turn signals on the side toward which a vehicle  turn is made shall be flashed to indicate the turning movement.  Stop lamps  shall be lighted as provided in section 9 of this act.

     (k)   License plate illumination will be deemed to be adequate when either a tail lamp or a separate lamp is so constructed and placed as to illuminate with  a white light the rear registration plate on a vehicle and render it clearly  legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear.  Any lamp or lamps providing  such illumination shall be lighted whenever the headlamps or other driving  lamps are lighted.

     (l)    Whenever a law enforcement officer detects a motor vehicle with a lamp not in working order, the driver may be permitted to park the vehicle temporarily at some safe place nearby and make the necessary repairs or replacement to restore the lamp to working order before moving the vehicle, in which event, there is no violation of this Title.

     (m)  Every motorbus manufactured before January 1, 1960, that has been inspected and approved as to construction and safety devices by the Board of Public Utility Commissioners shall be deemed in compliance with the requirements of this section.

(cf: P.L.1964, c.281, s.1)

 

     2.    R.S.39:3-66 is amended to read as follows:

     39:3-66.  All lamps, reflectors and other illuminating devices [required by this article] equipped on a motor vehicle shall be kept clean and in good working order and, as far as practicable, shall be mounted in such a manner as to reduce the likelihood of their being obscured by mud or dust thrown up by the wheels.

(cf: R.S.39:3-66)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the second month following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires that all lamps or other illuminating devices equipped on a motor vehicle be kept in good working order. 

     Under current law, only the minimum number of lighting devices required by statute to be installed on a motor vehicle must be kept in working order.  For example, the Motor Vehicle Code (Title 39) requires that vehicles have at least two brake lights; therefore, under current law, only two brake lights must be functional, notwithstanding that many newer cars have three or more brake lights. 

     This bill is in response to a recent Appellate Division case (State v. McDade) where the defendant moved to suppress evidence of a driving while intoxicated offense on the grounds that the police officer had no legal basis for stopping the vehicle because, even though a light was out, the car still had the minimum required number of working lights.  This bill would make it an equipment violation if any lighting device installed on a vehicle is not in working order.