Bill Text: NJ S565 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: "Drew's Law"; allows counties and municipalities to establish, or request DOT to establish, 15 miles per hour speed limit in or near certain parks and to set increased penalty for violating speed limit.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-01-09 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Transportation Committee [S565 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S565-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 565

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NICHOLAS J. SACCO

District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     "Drew's Law"; allows counties and municipalities to establish, or request DOT to establish, 15 miles per hour speed limit in or near certain parks and to set increased penalty for violating speed limit.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning speed limits in or near certain public parks, designated as Drew's Law, and amending R.S.39:4-98 and R.S.39:4-104.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    R.S.39:4-98 is amended to read as follows:

     39:4-98.      Rates of speed. Subject to the provisions of R.S.39:4-96 and R.S.39:4-97 and except in those instances where a lower speed is specified in this chapter, it shall be prima facie lawful for the driver of a vehicle to drive it at a speed not exceeding the following: 

     a.     Twenty-five miles per hour, when passing through a school zone during recess, when the presence of children is clearly visible from the roadway, or while children are going to or leaving school, during opening or closing hours;

     b.    (1) Twenty-five miles per hour in any business or residential district;

     (2)   Thirty-five miles per hour in any suburban business or residential district;

     (3)   Fifteen miles per hour pursuant to the provisions of section 2 of P.L.    , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     c.     Fifty miles per hour in all other locations, except as otherwise provided in the "Sixty-Five MPH Speed Limit Implementation Act," pursuant to [section 2 of] P.L.1997, c.415 (C.39:4-98.3 et al.).

     Whenever it shall be determined upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that any speed hereinbefore set forth is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at any intersection or other place or upon any part of a highway, the Commissioner of Transportation, with reference to State highways, may by regulation and municipal or county authorities, with reference to highways under their jurisdiction, may by ordinance, in the case of municipal authorities, or by ordinance or resolution, in the case of county authorities, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Transportation, except as otherwise provided in R.S.39:4-8, designate a reasonable and safe speed limit thereat which, subject to the provisions of R.S.39:4-96 and R.S.39:4-97, shall be prima facie lawful at all times or at such times as may be determined, when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected at such intersection, or other place or part of the highway.  Appropriate signs giving notice of the speed limits authorized under the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection b. and subsection c. of this section may be erected if the commissioner or the municipal or county authorities, as the case may be, so determine they are necessary.  Appropriate signs giving notice of the speed limits authorized under the provisions of subsection a. and paragraph (2) of subsection b. of this section shall be erected by the commissioner or the municipal or county authorities, as appropriate.

     When designating reasonable and safe speed limits for a street under its jurisdiction pursuant to this subsection, as part of an engineering and traffic investigation, a municipality or county shall consider, but not be limited to, the following criteria:  residential density; the presence, or lack, of sidewalks; the prevalence of entry and exit ways for business and commercial establishments; whether school children walk adjacent to the street on their way to and from school; and the proximity of recreational or park areas, schools, community residences, family day care homes, child care centers, assisted living facilities or senior communities.  Nothing in this paragraph shall substitute for traffic count, accident, and speed sampling data as appropriate.

     The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of this section, drive at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

     The Commissioner of Transportation shall cause the erection and maintenance of signs at such points of entrance to the State as are deemed advisable, setting forth the lawful rates of speed, the wording of which shall be within his discretion.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.258, s.1)

 

     2.    (New section) a. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, a county or municipality may establish, by resolution or ordinance as appropriate, a speed limit of 15 miles per hour:

     (1)   on county or municipal roads located in a park owned or controlled by the county or municipality during hours of operation, when children are clearly visible from the roadway, or while children are going to or leaving a park event; or 

     (2)   on county or municipal roads adjacent to a park owned or controlled by the State or the county or municipality during hours of operation, when children are clearly visible from the roadway, or while children are going to or leaving a park event.

     b.    Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, the Department of Transportation may establish, by written order of the commissioner, a speed limit of 15 miles per hour on State roads which are located in or directly adjacent to a park owned or controlled by the State or a county or municipality during hours of operation, when children are clearly visible from the roadway, or while children are going to or leaving a park event if the county or municipality in which the park is located adopts a resolution or ordinance, as appropriate, requesting that the department adopt the 15 miles per hour speed limit.

     c.     A State, county, or municipal road with a 15 miles per hour speed limit established pursuant to subsection a. or subsection b. of this section shall include proper signage to notify operators of motor vehicles of the reduced speed limit.

     d.    As used in this section:

     "Park" means a park, playground, picnic area, square, monument, beach, waterfront, recreation area, conservation area, or similar place or property.

     "Playground" means an improved area designed, equipped, and set aside for play of six or more children which is not intended for use as an athletic playing field or athletic court, and shall include any play equipment, surfacing, fencing, signs, internal pathways, internal land forms, vegetation, and related structures.

 

     3.    R.S.39:4-104 is amended to read as follows:

     39:4-104.    [A]  a.  Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, a person violating a section of this article shall, for each violation, be subject to a fine of not less than [$50.00] $50 or more than [$200.00] $200 , or imprisonment  for a period not exceeding 15 days, or both, except as herein otherwise provided.

     b.    A person violating paragraph (3) of subsection b. of R.S.39:4-98 shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100 or more than $400, as determined by the county or municipality by resolution or ordinance.

(cf: P.L.1982, c.45, s.4)

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill allows a county or municipality to establish a speed limit of 15 miles per hour on county or municipal roads in or adjacent to a park owned or controlled by the county or municipality, or adjacent to a park owned or controlled by the State, during hours of operation, when children are clearly visible from the roadway, or while children are going to or leaving a park event.  The bill allows the Commissioner of Transportation to establish a speed limit of 15 miles per hour on State roads which are located in or directly adjacent to a park owned or controlled by the State or a county or municipality during hours of operation, when children are clearly visible from the roadway, or while children are going to or leaving a park event upon request from the county or municipality in which the park is located.  Any road with a 15 miles per hour speed limit established pursuant to the bill is required to provide proper signage to notify operators of motor vehicles of the reduced speed limit.  The term "park" is defined to mean a park, playground, picnic area, square, monument, beach, waterfront, recreation area, conservation area, or similar place or property.

     Under current law, a person who exceeds the speed limit may be fined not less than $50 or more than $200.  This bill allows a county or municipality to establish a fine not less than $100 or more than $400 for violating the 15 miles per hour speed restriction on roads in parks or adjacent to parks during hours of operation, when children are clearly visible from the roadway, or while children are going to or leaving a park event.

     This bill is named "Drew's Law" in honor of Drew Keough.  On April 22, 2014, 11 year-old Drew was tragically struck and killed by a motor vehicle while crossing the street near Keansburg's Forest Park after playing basketball in the park.  His untimely death was a shock to the community and hundreds of people gathered to grieve his death by candlelight vigil the following day.  In light of this tragedy, the bill endeavors to prevent fatal motor vehicle accidents in or near parks by allowing counties and municipalities to reduce the speed limit to 15 miles per hour, at certain times, on streets passing through and adjacent to certain parks.

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