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Is Tailgating Illegal in New Jersey?

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Whether a driver is running late for work or annoyed with the other drivers on the road, tailgating is too common of an occurrence in New Jersey. The act causes an increase in car crashes, injuries, and unnecessary death. While it can be difficult for an officer to enforce, tailgating is illegal in NJ and can result in a ticket and further consequences. If you are being charged with tailgating and require representation speak with a New Jersey auto accident lawyer for skilled legal counsel.

What is Tailgating and Why is it Dangerous?

Tailgating is an aggressive driving practice that is fear-inducing, annoying, and can cause great harm. It is the act of a driver maintaining too close of a distance to the car in front of them. Tailgating is known to cause significant amounts of accidents which result in severe damage to the vehicles involved, extensive injuries, and even death.

Sudden braking happens all the time. People may not expect traffic to slow so suddenly and find themselves stopping abruptly. Or an animal could dart out into the road, forcing the driver to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. Regardless of the reason that the driver in front brakes, you should keep enough distance between the vehicles to stop in time to prevent an accident. Cars traveling at 60 miles per hour need almost 250 feet of total braking distance. When you leave only one car length between you and the car in front of you on a major highway, there is no way that you will be able to avoid rear-ending them if they brake unexpectedly.

Is Tailgating Against NJ Law?

Because of the serious dangers of tailgating, it is an illegal driving technique in the state of New Jersey. The tailgating statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-89 states that a driver must not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable, disregarding the speed of the vehicle ahead or the state of the road and traffic.

If you are found guilty of tailgating you can face a slew of consequences for your actions, including but not limited to the following.

  • Fines of $140 or higher depending on your speed
  • Court costs
  • Jail time of up to 15 days, though rare
  • Increase in auto insurance rates
  • The addition of 5 points to your driving record
  • Yearly surcharges of at least $150 for three years, if the additional 5 points cause you to reach 6 points or more.
  • Suspension of your license, if the additional 5 points cause you to reach 12 points or more

Tailgating is extremely dangerous. Even if you do not cause an accident, receiving a ticket from an NJ officer for tailgating can lead you to incur the above penalties and more. Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you when possible, and reach out to a skilled attorney if you are facing tailgating charges.

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