Careless Driving – NJSA 39:4-97
Careless driving (NJSA 39:4-97) is a catch-all provision that outlaws unsafe driving that is not otherwise covered by a traffic statute.
The NJ law: N.J.S.A. 39:4-97
The New Jersey Careless Driving law provides:
“A person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of careless driving.”
This wording is similar to reckless driving, but the penalties for careless driving are lower than the penalties for reckless driving. The reason for this is because reckless driving means you intentionally were driving in a manner that endangered a person or property, and careless driving means you unintentionally were doing so.
A driver who gets in a crash as a result of being distracted did not mean to drive unsafely, but did drive unsafely nonetheless. This would be a case of careless driving as opposed to reckless driving.
Fines and Penalties for Careless Driving
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to Careless Driving in New Jersey, the Court must fine you anywhere from $50 to $200 (39:4-203), court costs up to $33 (N.J.S.A. 22A:3-4) and a $6 assessment (N.J.S.A. 39:5-41). The Court also has the discretion to imprison you up to 15 days in jail (39:4-203).
The above listed fines must be doubled when the offense is in an area designated with a speed limit of 65 miles per hour (N.J.S.A. 39:4-98.6) OR committed in an area of highway construction or repair or when committed in a designated safe corridor (N.J.S.A. 39:4-203.5).
Careless Driving- N.J.S.A. 39:4-97 is a violation listed in the N.J.S.A. Point Schedule and the Motor Vehicle Commission will add 2 points to your New Jersey Driving record if convicted.
The Law Firm of Richard Huizenga is here to help
If you are accused of Careless Driving in NJ, a NJ traffic ticket attorney may be able to help protect your driving record. Call the Law Firm of Richard Huizenga at (732) 500-4688 for a free consultation.