New Jersey Traffic Tickets - What You Need to Know
Each day on the New Jersey roadways, drivers operate on a set of road rules and traffic laws that are designed to keep everyone safe whenever they're behind the wheel. Still, mistakes sometimes happen, lapses in judgment occur, and laws are broken... the result of which is almost always a traffic ticket.
So what exactly can a New Jersey traffic violation do to your driving record, and how do you deal with one? We're here to help you find out.
The New Jersey Point System
When you receive a New Jersey traffic ticket, the violation is recorded to your driving record, along with a designated number of points. This only applies to moving violations (such as New Jersey speeding tickets and other infractions committed while actually operating your vehicle), not for parking tickets or similar violations. These also don't take into account New Jersey DUI laws, for which there are much harsher and more immediate consequences.
The NJ point system is scaled according to the severity of the violation. Some of the most common traffic tickets and their points can be found in the table below.
|Failure to yield to pedestrian or other vehicle||2 points|
|Disregarding traffic signs or signals||2 points|
|Speeding 1-14 MPH over limit||2 points|
|Speeding 15-20 MPH over limit||4 points|
|Speeding 30 MPH or more over limit||5 points|
|Reckless/aggressive driving, tailgating||5 points|
|Causing an accident resulting in personal injury||8 points|
The Consequences of Ticket Points
Tickets do a lot more than just hang out on your driving record for a few years. They are used to determine what kind of driver you are, and can end up costing you a great deal down the road. Sometimes you will be assessed extra fines and penalties, such as surcharges. A surcharge is an extra fine that you are assessed for having excessive points on your license, or for more serious violations such as DUI convictions. If you receive 6 or more points within 3 years, you will end up incurring a surcharge. That means just 3 speeding tickets in 3 years can end up costing you for a long time - you will have to pay the surcharge annually for a total of 3 years.
If you receive 12 or more points on your record, within any period of time, your driver's license will be suspended. Dealing with a New Jersey suspended license is no easy task - you will need to find ways to get to work and/or school, and deal with other simple daily tasks that you take for granted. So be sure to keep an eye on your point total to avoid this costly scenario.
Another consequence of ticket points is a higher insurance rate. When you receive a traffic ticket on your driving record, it gets reported to your insurance company. Since you are no longer seen as a low-risk driver, your insurance company will raise your rate to accommodate your new risk status, as they now believe there is a higher likelihood that you will end up costing them money.
Dealing with New Jersey Traffic Tickets
If you've had the misfortune to receive a traffic violation, all is not lost. For every year that you drive without any traffic tickets or license suspensions, you will reduce 3 points from your record. You can also avoid insurance spikes, surcharges, and a suspended license by enrolling in a New Jersey defensive driving course, known within the state as a Point & Insurance Reduction course. This course can be taken to reduce 2 points from your record every 5 years, giving you an alternative to the waiting game to watch points automatically fall off. This is especially helpful if you receive a traffic ticket that puts you in danger of reaching your point maximum before license suspension.