This seems like a huge abuse of police power.
In the US, you're more likely to be pulled over for something trivial like speeding than something that we believe is much worse, hogging the left lane. We may disagree with some of the low speed limits that are posted in certain parts of the US, but we have learned to live with them and pay the tickets when we get them. Speeding tickets have become a part of everyday life, but a New Jersey town is now looking to give people tickets for a much more ridiculous reason. According to NJ.com a small Jersey town is looking to ban people from driving at any speed.
Leonia, New Jersey, doesn't seem like the kind of town that would have a lot of traffic going through it. However, many people cut through the small town to cross the George Washington Bridge into New York. While performing some emergency maintenance on the bridge, traffic became backed up by more than 70 minutes. The town is ready to take extreme measures to solve the traffic problem. This includes a ban for all drivers that don't live there with a small exception of nine hours per day. People who live in Leonia would be issued a yellow tag by city hall to hang in their rearview mirrors. Anyone else who drives in the town from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 4 p.m. to 9 p.m could be hit with a $200 fine.
Police Chief Thomas Rowe said that "It's an extreme initiative, I'll be the first to admit that. However the traffic that we deal with is completely extreme." We immediately had to ask whether a fine like this is even legal. The roads in Leonia are public roads, so it seems like the town should not be able to ban people from driving on them. Leonia Mayor Judah Zeigler said the ordinance has been "thoroughly" researched and the town has "no doubt the ordinances we passed are legal and would withstand any potential legal challenge." Executive Director of the NJ League of Municipalities Michael Darcy said that the ordinance is treated as a form of "traffic calming."
I think they're certainly within their rights to do this," Darcy said. "They aren't just doing this to gate off the community, for example. They're talking about the safety of the residents, emergency vehicles having access. It's a problem there." We don't believe that the town should be able to justify such a harsh ordinance. Public roads can be reasonably regulated by speed limits, signs and turn signals, but banning people from them for no justifiable reason seems like a huge violation of police power. This ordinance seems like it would be too difficult to enforce and we wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't put into effect.