New Jersey Bill Would Require Dome Lights at Traffic Stops

How do you become a police state? Whatever the police ask for, they get. No questions. I think this bill, which would require people to turn on their dome lights during a traffic stop is going to end up getting someone killed. The police unions are asking for it, so who are members of either party to say no? Republicans love themselves some law and order, and you can’t expect a Democrat to say no to a union, can you?

What’s going to end up happening is a lot of out-of-state people will get fined, because they aren’t aware of such a ridiculous law, since they don’t exist in other states. Maybe that’s the idea. Is it a good and courteous thing to turn on one’s dome light during a stop? Sure. But just because it’s courteous doesn’t mean it ought to be the law.

Of course, there will be the usual, “the innocent having nothing to hide,” from the law and order crowd, but remember a .22LR hollow nose cartridge getting out of your range bag is going to get you in a hell of a lot more trouble than a $50 fine in New Jersey. This bill is not only an invitation to extract more money from out-of-state drivers, it’s an invitation for more otherwise law abiding gun owners to end up in New Jersey State prison. Chris Christie isn’t going to be around to issue pardons forever, and we already know the courts can not be depended on.

My bigger concern is that as awareness of the law spreads in New Jersey, the people who are slow to catch on are going to be presumed by the stopping officer to be up to no good, and are going to meet at the least a heightened response, and at worse a dangerous overreaction. Politicians need to think about the consequences of these kinds of outlying regulations, and not be afraid to say no to the police lobby when they come asking for them. It’s already against the law in New Jersey to refuse to turn on your dome light when requested (I don’t know what happens if your dome light doesn’t work, since it’s not an inspection item, and not required to be working on the car). This law seems like a way to bilk money out of the peasantry while claiming to be about keeping the King’s Men safe.

25 Responses to “New Jersey Bill Would Require Dome Lights at Traffic Stops”

  1. Joe_in_Pitt says:

    Because the 15 million candlepower spotlights and flashlights in the eyes of the occupants from both sides of the car aren’t enough. This is no different than tint laws because “They might have a gun”. Even if they prove to have absolutely no effect on officer safety who wants to be the one to suggest pulling that revenue generator?

    • Ronnie says:

      My thoughts exactly! When I was a younger man and not fully cognizant of how things really work in this world, I was getting pulled over by the police in New Jersey for night time traffic stops quite often back during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The combined brightness of the police car’s spoltlights, headlights on high beam, red and blue lightbar emergency lights, and the police officer’s multi-cell maglite was more than enough to light up the interior of my vehicle more than my vehicle’s own dome lights ever could achieve, each and every time. I am sure that the light fixtures on police cars in New Jersey today are no different from 20 or 30 years ago. I would even bet that the police in New Jersey have more lights on their patrol cars now, the lights are better, etc. The whole point of this law in New Jersey would just be to put one more burden upon us mere peasants to be mindful of when we get pulled over for even the most minor of moving violations, such as driving too far in the left lane of a 4-lane highway. (I was pulled over for this once in New Jersey about 20 years ago. I got just a verbal warning from the cop as a result.)

  2. Bruce says:

    I don’t actually have a dome light in my truck. God I love the ’80s….

  3. Billll says:

    If I ever think I might take one of my cars to New Jersey, I’m replacing the dome light with a rotating disco ball complete with mirrors and lasers.

    • Archer says:

      Inverted police-style flasher. The old spinning kind from the 80s, slightly modified with a 300-lumen LED in the parabolic reflector instead of the old incandescent bulb.

      Remember to adjust your rear-view mirror before you turn it on.

  4. Will says:

    Ford trucks tend to have the dome light switch also control the bed light, mounted in the third brake light at the top of the cab. Some trucks have added lights to really light up the rear of the truck. I’m thinking this might piss off the average cop to be lit up as they approach the cab area.

  5. HoosierMom says:

    I drive a minivan. It has 6 overhead lights. Is the officer going to make me crawl in the back to turn them all on, or just terrorize my children until they comply?

    • Archer says:

      Depends: is there just one officer, or are there two?

      If there’s two, you’ll probably get conflicting demands; one will demand you go turn them all on, and the other will see you moving, pull his gun, and demand you stay put and show your hands. If there’s just the one officer, he’ll require you to stay put for “officer safety”, but then turn around and cite you for not turning them on.

      In either case, a perfect “police state” setup. Heads, they win; tails, you lose.

  6. Bram says:

    Here’s how it works in Jersey. Local cops told they need revenue – so they start pulling people over for any damn excuse. But cops don’t want to spend time in court or truly piss off the locals who pay their salaries – so they find infractions that carry a fine but no points. Bingo! $50 and no hassle.

    I was once ticketed in Independence NJ for not putting in my hazard lights after being pulled over for speeding (I just had on my right turn indicator). It was crazy – but no points so I just paid the damn thing.

    This is just a way to milk revenue out of drivers, nothing else.

    • Alpheus says:

      I’m currently listening to a podcast called “Revolutions”; I’m still in the midst of Great Britain’s first civil war, where Charles I was beheaded and Cromwell became Protectorate.

      Interestingly, one of the major factors leading up to this revolution was Charles’s insistence on stretching the law when it came to taxes and jailing people. While the courts backed him up on this, it gradually built up resistance to the point that it erupted into civil war.

      I can imagine something similar happening with little regulations. Not necessarily civil war, per se, but certainly ugly backlash…

  7. FiftycalTX says:

    Best way to avoid trouble is NOT to go to that SLAVE STATE. There is absolutely NO BUSINESS that I have that would require my presence there or in any of the shitholes that don’t recognize my handgun license.

    • Sebastian says:

      Not an easy option when you live 10 miles from the border, and have clients in that state.

      • Renegade_Azzy says:

        Or your boss send you there.

      • Alien says:

        Not an easy option when you live 10 miles from the border, and have clients in that state.

        Those self inflicted wounds are a bitch, aren’t they?

        For the rest of us it’s just one more reason added to the existing hundreds to never, ever, go near – much less enter – New Jersey.

  8. Renegade_Azzy says:

    Excuse me, I ran a red light to let you know you forgot a turn signal. By the way, you did turn on your dome light, but I see that you enjoyed another state’s liberty, so we are going to have to arrest you and make you spend your life savings on layers and fees.

  9. TS says:

    I just read the bill. It is an amendment to an existing bill where they remove the requirement that police need to ask you to turn on the light first. They also removed the requirement for it to be nighttime. Yes, you can get hit for $50 even in broad daylight.

  10. Braden Lynch says:

    For officer safety they should require all car occupants to exit the vehicle and strip naked in front of them, even in winter, to make sure they are not hiding weapons. Come on, that is the next logical step, guys.

    Remember, you are guilty until you prove you are innocent and your job is to make it easier for the police to find some malum prohibitum mistake or excuse to fine you.

    Follow the dollars to see how this is corrupt from the get go.

    • TS says:

      Officer safety? Because someone with a gun on their lap intending to shoot the officer is going to turn their light on to avoid the fine? What happens when someone doesn’t turn on the light? Will the officer approach the car to give them the ticket, or cower in fear of what lurks in the shadows?

      • Archer says:

        Will the officer approach the car to give them the ticket, or cower in fear of what lurks in the shadows?

        Neither. The officer will follow “standard department protocol”: shoot first and let God (and internal affairs) sort it out. All in the name of “officer safety”, of course.

        (Shooting first may not be in the “standard protocol” an FOIA request might provide, but since officers’ actions in these incidents nearly invariably are found to be “in line with training and/or department protocol”, it’s safe to assume there’s another, unpublished set of rules they’re operating by.

        A “second set of books”, if you will.)

  11. Roger says:

    Any question as to why I fled the Peoples Dimokratic Republik of New Jersistan lo these 16 years ago? God bless the Gunshine state of Florida!

  12. Ian Argent says:

    I once got gigged (back when NJ did safety inspections) for not having a 3rd brake light. On a 1992 model year pickup truck; which wasn’t mandated to have nor manufactured with one. I had a word with the inspection station supervisor…

    • Joe A says:

      Serves you right for not scrapping a perfectly good working truck and taking on 5-7 years of debt to help prop up a bloated and floundering auto industry!