Can You Be Ticketed in NJ For Having a Cracked Windshield?
Getting a crack in your windshield is one of driving's little annoyances. And depending on how big the crack is, fixing or replacing it might be more than a little expense.
This has happened to me several times over the years. Here's how it usually seems to play out.
You are driving along on the highway, minding your own business, when another vehicle -- many times a truck without mudflaps -- kicks up a rock that slams into your windshield, cracking it.
I have heard people say that if you can identify the vehicle that caused the damage and you catch up to them on the highway and get them to pull over and tell them what happened, they are technically responsible for paying for the damage.
Ha! Good luck with that.
More realistically, unless the crack is directly in your line of vision or it left the spider web type of damage that must be fixed immediately, you might try doing what I have done more than once. Live with it and hope the crack doesn't expand or get any worse.
Here's where we come to the point of this article.
Can you be ticketed in New Jersey for having a crack in your windshield?
The answer according to licensed New Jersey criminal defense attorneys is...yes, possibly.
Attorney Wayne Lee Kim says..."Yes. Inspection no longer inspects for that kind of thing, basically just papers and emissions, but you are still responsible for it (they don't inspect for broken lights anymore, just things required federally, but you still get a ticket for a broken light).
It doesn't matter whether it was blocking your view, a damaged windshield reduces the structural integrity of the car and weakens the windshield in the event of a crash."
NJ attorney Willam Popovitch concurs. "I believe this is an equipment violation."
The webpage, yourmechanic.com puts it this way...
New Jersey does not specify the size or placement of cracks and chips in the windshield. The law states only that cracked or chipped windshields should be replaced. This broad explanation means that any cracks or chips that an officer believes could hinder your clear view while driving could result in a citation.
Failing to comply with New Jersey laws can result in fines that range from as little as $44 for obstructions and up to $123 for failing to make any repairs to the windshield that are required in order for the vehicle to be safe.