You may no longer have to wait in those long lines at the inspection station to get your safety windshield sticker (those inspections were eliminated almost five years ago in New Jersey), but that doesn’t mean you can drive around with cracked tail lights and or a muffler that needs serious replacing.
Just when the NJ Division of Motor Vehicles started looking the other way on safety issues, police departments throughout New Jersey got in the game. Now, in addition to speed traps, police are on the lookout for bald tires and other safety hazards commonly found on vehicles every day. In fact, court records in NJ reveal that tickets for safety violations are on the rise. For example, in the five years since New Jersey drivers have been able to avoid the dreaded inspection line, cops handed out 39 percent more tickets for cracked windshields than in the preceding five years.
Other eye-opening statistics include:
- About 100,000 tickets issued for head and tail light-related infractions in 2014
- Around 70,084 people got tickets for cracked or chipped windshields
- Almost 3,700 drivers were busted for driving on worn tires (up 10 percent)
Doing away with safety inspections in 2010 (now NJ cars five years or older must maintain up-to-date exhaust inspection stickers) was expected to save the state $6 to 12 million. And, while many thought no safety inspections would increase the amount of accidents that take place on NJ roads, history doesn’t support those concerns.
According to the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts, police officers are very busy handing out safety-related tickets.
- There were 2,722 summons issued for backup lights and faulty mirrors
- Obstructed windshields accounted for 75,692 tickets
- This may be less of a safety issue and, perhaps, a bit more nefarious, but 89,703 drivers were tickets for displaying improper license plates
A bit of good news, one important safety problem seems to be less of an issue these days. Police are handing out far fewer summons for “missing seat restraints.” Issuance of these tickets dropped 73 percent in NJ in 2014.
When you receive a traffic summons, you may be apt to just pay the ticket and move on. However, it’s important for you to realize that paying the fine is the equivalent of pleading guilty to the charge. It’s always a good idea, especially if you are facing a more serious charge like speeding, reckless driving, driving while using a cell phone or DWI, to speak with a defense lawyer who may be able to get your ticket downgraded or completely dismissed.
Contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty today for sound legal advice about your traffic violation or criminal charges. He will protect your rights and fight for you.