July 13, 2011
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
BARBARA RES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Municipal Appeal No. 004-04-10.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted March 22, 2011
Before Judges Wefing and Payne.
Defendant was convicted of careless driving in a trial de novo in the Law Division, N.J.S.A. 39:4-97. She appeals from that conviction. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.
Defendant was issued a ticket for careless driving on the morning of April 9, 2009. She was driving eastbound on Broadway in Norwood behind a dump truck. Defendant wanted to pass the dump truck, but that section of the road was marked by a double yellow line, precluding her from doing so. At the intersection of Broadway and Livingston Street, which is controlled by a traffic light, Broadway widens to include a turning lane; cars in that lane may make a left turn with the assistance of a green arrow. Defendant entered the turning lane, not with the intent of turning left when the arrow indicated it was safe to do so but, rather, with the intent of passing the dump truck. Defendant did so, passed the truck and returned to the eastbound lane to continue on her way.
Police Officer Edward McDermott of the Northvale Police Department was driving westbound on Broadway and had stopped for the red light at the Livingston Avenue intersection. He observed defendant's maneuver. He turned around his police car, followed defendant and signaled her to stop. He then issued her a ticket for careless driving, maintaining that in passing the dump truck, she had driven in the lane for westbound traffic on Broadway. Defendant disputed this, asserting that she had never entered that westbound lane.
Before the municipal court, the Law Division, and this court, defendant has continued to insist that she never entered the westbound lane and thus could not be guilty of careless driving. We disagree.
The careless driving statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-97, provides that a driver who drives "without due caution and circumspection, in a manner . . . likely to endanger, a person or property" is guilty of careless driving. Entering a lane clearly denominated as a lane restricted for making left turns, with no intention of turning, but continuing straight ahead, is likely to endanger other drivers who would not be anticipating such a maneuver.
Defendant's conviction is affirmed.
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