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Lane-Splitting in New Jersey

Is It Legal? Is It Safe?

Lane-Splitting in New JerseyWe’ve all seen it on the highway or while waiting at a stoplight—a motorcycle scoots between us and the car next to us. It’s called “lane-splitting,” also known as “white-lining” or stripe-riding.” Many bikers do it to avoid traffic congestion, but it’s also considered by many to be safer than stopping behind stationary motor vehicles. Though it’s a common practice, many motorcycle enthusiasts in New Jersey are uncertain whether it’s legal. In addition, there’s disagreement over whether the practice is safe.

Is Lane-Splitting Legal in New Jersey

Lane-splitting is governed by state law, which varies from state to state. At the present time, only one state—California—has specifically declared lane-splitting to be legal. A majority of states expressly ban the practice, but New Jersey is not one of them. The Garden State joins more than a dozen jurisdictions where the practice is not addressed by state lawbut left largely to the discretion of local law enforcement. Though the practice is not banned, a law enforcement officer may cite a lane-splitting biker for failing to stay on the right-hand side of the road. As a biker myself, I am curious as to your thoughts whether it should be legal in New Jersey.

Is Lane-Splitting Safe?

Though little research on lane-splitting has been conducted in the United States, advocates cite two different reports suggesting the practice reduces the number of rear-end collisions involving motorcycles—the Hurt Report (1981) and data from the United States Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS data shows that rear-end collisions with motorcycles are significantly lower in California (30%) than Texas or Florida, states with comparable riding seasons where lane-splitting is either banned (Florida) or not expressly permitted (Texas).

A 2015 study at the University of California suggests that lane-splitting could be safe, provided it is done at a speed of less than 50 miles per hour and the biker is traveling no more than 15 miles per hour faster than surrounding traffic.

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Say Log Violations are “Epidemic”

Federal Agency Says Incidents of False Logs on the Rise

Motor Carrier SafetyThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency tasked with monitoring and regulating commercial trucking operations, has reported that the number of citations for maintaining false driver logs has gone up by as much as 20% over the last five years. Data collected in 2017 showed that more than 30,000 drivers were issued “out of service” orders that year for falsifying driving logs.

Under federal trucking regulations, drivers are limited in the amount of time they can spend on the road. For drivers hauling only goods, there’s a limit of 11 consecutive hours on the road after a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off duty. If a driver is carrying passengers, the limit is 10 hours after 8 hours off duty. Drivers may not be behind the wheel more than 60 hours over seven days, or more than 70 hours over eight days. Drivers with cargo must take at least 30 minutes off every eight hours. Drivers hauling cargo who have a sleeper berth in their truck must have at least eight hours in the berth plus another two hours off duty (or in the sleeper berth). Drivers carrying passengers who use a sleeper berth must spend at least eight hours in the berth, but may divide the time in two sections, provided each is at least two hours.

The data gathered was compiled before the FMCSA mandated electronic logging devices (ELDs) for more than 3 million commercial truck drivers. The ELDs are electronic devices installed in trucks that allow for electronic tracking of hours on the road. The FMCSA doesn’t yet have data to accurately assess the effectiveness of the ELDs, but anticipates that hours of service violations will be dramatically reduced.

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

Contact our office online or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can move forward with your claim. We can accommodate evening or weekend meeting requests and will come to your home, if necessary.

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