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  • NJ A1050
  • Creates new motor vehicle offense of engaging in a pattern of aggressive driving.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill creates a new motor vehicle offense to be known as "engaging in a pattern of aggressive driving" or "aggressive driving." It is a unique and distinct offense that targets certain violations as part of a single continuous sequence of driving acts. It would recognize the seriousness of aggressive driving by reinforcing the notion that it is a behavioral problem requiring education and more stringent law enforcement and raise its priority among law enforcement, prosecutors and judges. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, by self-reports in polls, one-half of the drivers in New Jersey are angry behind the wheel and/or trying to punish others. Therefore, it is not surprising that across the nation, more than 60 percent of drivers recently surveyed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that aggressive driving is a threat to them or their families. The new offense of committing a pattern of aggressive driving refers to either: · Two or more forms of aggressive driving engaged in simultaneously or in succession; or · Three or more successive acts of any one form of aggressive driving. To qualify as such an offense, the acts must be committed in close proximity to another vehicle during a single, continuous period of driving over the course of up to five miles. The bill includes, as acts of aggressive driving: · Driving 25 miles per hour or more over the speed limit · Tailgating · Improper or erratic lane changes · Unsafe passing off the roadway · Failing to yield the right of way · Violating traffic control devices such as lights and signs Audible verbal threats or insults, flashing of headlights and use of demeaning gestures at persons driving lawfully when designed to show anger, or to intimidate or threaten. The penalties in the bill are based conceptually on recommendations from a 1999 national symposium organized by the National Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. The symposium's "break-out group" recommended that states consider, among other things, that: · a conviction for an aggressive driving violation involve a significant number of points and/or minimum license suspension; and · enhanced penalties should accompany repeat violations or those that cause injury or death. Penalties in the bill range from a 15 to 30 day suspension and/or attendance in an aggressive driving and/or anger management class for a first offense to 60 to 90 day suspension and/or $1000 to $3000 fine for a second or subsequent offense within 24 months or one that causes significant injury or death to another person. There would be no plea bargaining. The Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Highway Traffic Safety, is required to conduct public education campaigns about the danger of aggressive driving and the content of the new law and promote the reporting of aggressive drivers on the State's toll-free telephone line. It would periodically report citations for aggressive driving to the legislative leadership and make recommendations for legislative amendments to the relevant standing committees. The bill also amends R.S.39:4-85 by modifying an antiquated half-century old requirement that prohibits all passing on the right when off the pavement or "main-traveled portion" of a highway. Passing a vehicle safely on the right on a two-lane road when another vehicle directly in front is making a left would not be considered a form of aggressive driving under the bill.
Law and Public Safety
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified