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State v. Hubschman

Decided: December 3, 1963.


Halpern, A.j.s.c.


Defendant appeals from a conviction in the Woodbridge Township Municipal Court where he had been charged with violating Article 1.1.3 of the regulations promulgated by the New Jersey Highway Authority in that he had backed up his car on the Garden State Parkway. The appeal is here de novo and the relevant facts have been stipulated.

On May 22, 1963 defendant entered the Parkway at a point where there was no toll booth. Before reaching a toll booth he was given a traffic summons for backing his car on the Parkway. He admits backing his car on the Parkway but contends his conviction should be reversed because: (a) The regulation against backing up is unenforceable in that the power delegated by the Legislature to the Authority to make

regulations is unconstitutional as an unlawful delegation of power, and (b) if the Authority had the power to promulgate the regulation in question it nevertheless failed to erect any signs or otherwise post them so as to give notice thereof to the travelling public as required by law.

A brief recital of the legislative history dealing with the New Jersey Highway Authority is necessary to an understanding of the issues involved.

In 1952 the Legislature created the New Jersey Highway Authority. N.J.S.A. 27:12B-1 et seq. Under this legislation the Authority was given very broad power to acquire, construct and maintain, modern express highways in order to facilitate vehicular traffic and minimize hazards on congested highways in the state. It authorized the Authority "To establish and enforce rules and regulations for the use of any project" N.J.S.A. 27:12B-5(j). This power to establish and enforce rules was by no means unlimited. The Legislature set appropriate standards to guide the Authority. The standards particularly involved in the instant case are contained in N.J.S.A. 27:12B-18. Subsection (g) specifically provides:

"All persons operating vehicles upon any project, or seeking to do so, must at all times comply with regulations, not inconsistent with the other sections of this act, adopted by the Authority concerning types, weights and sizes of vehicles permitted to use such project, and with regulations adopted by the Authority for or prohibiting the parking of vehicles, concerning the making of turns and the use of particular traffic lanes, together with any and all other regulations adopted by the Authority to control traffic and prohibit acts hazardous in their nature or tending to impede or block the normal and reasonable flow of traffic upon such project; provided, however, that prior to the adoption of any regulation for the control of traffic on any such project, including the designation of any speed limits, the Authority shall investigate and consider the need for and desirability of such regulation for the safety of persons and property, including the Authority's property, and the contribution which any such regulation would make toward the efficient and safe handling of traffic and use of such project, and shall determine that such regulation is necessary or desirable to accomplish such purposes or one or some of them, and

that upon or prior to the effective date of any such regulation and during its continuance, notice thereof shall be given to the drivers of vehicles by appropriate signs erected at the roadside or otherwise posted. The Authority is hereby authorized and empowered to make, adopt and promulgate regulations referred to in this section in accordance with the provisions hereof. Regulations adopted by the Authority pursuant to the provisions of this section shall insofar as practicable, having due regard to the features of the project and the characteristics of traffic thereon, be consistent with the provisions of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes applicable to similar subjects. The authority shall have power to amend, supplement or repeal any regulation adopted by it under the provisions of this section. No regulation and no amendment or supplement thereto or repealer thereof adopted by the Authority shall take effect until it is filed with the Secretary of State, by the filing of a copy thereof certified by the secretary of the Authority."

Thereafter the Authority decided to build the Garden State Parkway and duly finished it during the year 1955. On October 1, 1958 the Authority promulgated its regulations governing the use of the Parkway and filed the same with the Secretary of State, as required by Subsection (g), supra.

The regulation here in question, Article 1.1.3, provides:

"No vehicle shall be operated, backed, pushed or otherwise caused to move in a direction which is against the normal flow of traffic on any traffic lane, deceleration lane, acceleration lane, ...

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