An uncontroversial new bill has been proposed for New Jersey drivers and police officers earlier last month. The legislation would require drivers to turn on their interior car lights when stopped by an officer between dusk and dawn, during bad weather, or when the officer otherwise requests it during a traffic stop when the driver is pulled over. According to testifying police officers, the additional legislation would protect both citizens and law enforcement.
The bill was proposed by State Senator Peter Barnes, a democrat from Middlesex. Penalties for a driver who refuses to turn on their interior light would be $50 in this new legislation. It was passed unanimously in a 5-0 vote by the senate Law and Public Safety committee and is now heading to the full senate to vote. During the hearing at of the Law and Public Safety committee, there were no objections against the legislation, and it is expected to pass through otherwise unchallenged. There is another bill that was introduced to the state assembly last year covering similar legislation, which is still currently in a committee.
One intent of the bill is to help protect police officers during traffic stops during the evening or in poor weather situations that would affect visibility. It would also protect drivers, according to the vice president for legislation of the State Troopers Fraternal Association, Wayne Blanchard. Blanchard referenced the increased focus on body cameras in the state legislation and said that by fully illuminating the car interior, it would enhance the technology of body cameras which would be recording the entirety of the traffic stop. He believes that the new rule of turning on interior lights is a “fairly easy thing to ask the public to do”, and many of the state senators seem to agree. Blanchard also called the bill “common sense,” and that both troopers and police are looking to increase the safety of everyone involved.
If you have been involved in a traffic stop involving police and need legal representation on your case, the Law Office of Leon Matchin is here to help. I have extensive experience in all traffic law defense and representation, including DWI/DUI, disorderly persons offense, and many other areas of the ever expanding field of traffic law. For a free phone consultation and to learn more about the services I provide,
please give my office a call at (732) 662-7658 today. I look forward to serving you, hearing more about your case and beginning to fight for your rights as a resident of New Jersey.