New Jersey’s dumb laws

dumb laws in njWell I think that it is time to talk about New Jersey’s dumb laws, most of which are outmoded. Please note that a number of these laws are now off the books. So relax and have a good laugh.


Drivers must warn those who they pass on highways before they do so. In lawyer speak:

39:4-85. Passing to left when overtaking; passing when in lines; signaling to pass; passing upon right

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass at a safe distance to the left thereof and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. If vehicles on the roadway are moving in two or more substantially continuous lines, the provisions of this paragraph and section 39:4-87 of this Title shall not be considered as prohibiting the vehicles in one line overtaking and passing the vehicles in another line either upon the right or left, nor shall those provisions be construed to prohibit drivers overtaking and passing upon the right another vehicle which is making or about to make a left turn.

The driver of an overtaking motor vehicle not within a business or residence district shall give audible warning with his horn or other warning device before passing or attempting to pass a vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right as provided in this section only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. In no event shall such movement be made by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway.

Amended by L.1951, c. 23, p. 82, s. 45.


Does your head hurt like mine does after reading that!  Remember it is now illegal to pass on the right.

Remember there will be a test at the end of this blog!


Handcuffs may not be sold to minors. 2C:39-9.2. Sale of handcuffs to minors, prohibited

A person who sells handcuffs to a person under 18 years of age is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. A law enforcement officer shall confiscate handcuffs sold in violation of the law. As used in this section, “handcuffs” mean a device, conventionally used for law enforcement purposes, that can be tightened and locked about the wrists for the purpose of restraining a person’s movement.


Don’t loan a minor your handcuffs as you might never get them back.


All motorists must honk before passing another car, bicyclist, skater, and even a skateboarder. Somehow this law and the first example are in conflict with a more modern law that says you may only use your car horn in a situation requiring a warning.


It is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder. 2C:39-13. Unlawful use of body vests

Unlawful use of body vests. A person is guilty of a crime if he uses or wears a body vest while engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit murder, manslaughter, robbery, sexual assault, burglary, kidnaping, criminal escape or assault under N.J.S.2C:12-1b. Use or wearing a body vest while engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit a crime of the first degree is a crime of the second degree. Otherwise it is a crime of the third degree.

As used in this section, “body vest” means bullet-resistant body armor which is intended to provide ballistic and trauma protection.

L.1983,c.152,s.1; amended 1999, c.306.

Remember to take off your bulletproof vest when committing a crime, OK?


It is against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season. Really! Can I read a book instead of knitting?

It is against the law to “frown” at a police officer. Ok so is it alright to smile or stick out one’s tongue instead?

You may not slurp your soup. Hear that all you soup slurpers! The police are looking for you.

It is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon. Hmm, can I instead hurry it on its way before it does you know what?

Automobiles are not to pass horse drawn carriages on the street. What! Where are all the horse drawn carriages?

A measure that governs how the state treats victims of shipwrecks and the personal property they leave behind. When has there been a shipwreck in New Jersey, none that I know of since the Morrow Castle.  I can’t wait until the next shipwreck to see how this law is carried out, can you?

Now not to let the state only make dumb laws here are a few from some New Jersey towns:

No street-side trees may be planted that “obscure the air”. Ok how do you plant it so it will not do that?

And finally- It is illegal to frown as the town is a “Frown-Free Town Zone”. Looks like the tape manufacturers make a lot of sales in that town.  Remember a frown is just a smile upside down, so just stand on your head in that town if you frown!


So here is the test question:

If I wear a bulletproof vest while driving and passing a horse drawn carriage or another vehicle while slurping my soup. Plus I am detaining a homing pigeon, not smiling and intend to frown at the police when they catch me; should I go straight to jail or just start laughing? Wait I forgot I loaned my handcuffs to a minor, oh boy am I in trouble now.


That is my opinion- Jumpin Jersey Mike

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