You know the old saying about even a broken clock being right twice a day? Well, I'm no fan of our current governor but he did something right this week.

He signed a law that took away not only an unfair ticket but also an unfair reason for police to pull you over.

It's something that has cost drivers up to a hundred dollars each time, has impacted almost half a million drivers in five years, and is thought to have even been used as a pretext to get away with racial profile stops.

Obstruction of license plate.

Canva/Townsquare Media photo illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media photo illustration

When the license plate frame ever so slightly covers a very tiny portion of the lettering of either "New Jersey" or "Garden State" but nowhere near the point that any reasonable person couldn't still make out what it says. Thanks to a bill by state Sen. Pat Diegnan and signed into law by Governor Murphy on Monday, that won't be allowed any longer. 

It never should have been allowed in the first place.

It was an overreach and an abuse of a law not worded carefully enough in my opinion. While I give Diegnan credit for sponsoring the bill to stop the practice I do take exception to his characterizing the old law as something police officers would be "relieved" to not have to enforce.

“Their job is to enforce the law, so clearly if they saw it and it was obvious, they would pull folks over,” he said.


Come on. Police don't give tickets for everything they see. Every day they see people drive four miles over the speed limit and they aren't pulling them over for it. This obstruction of license plate was always even pettier.

Officers have plenty of discretion and they could have exercised that discretion instead of doling out nearly a hundred thousand citations a year for this nonsense.

I'm sure sometimes it was just for fundraising. Other times used as a pretext stop to see if anything truly nefarious was happening inside a vehicle.

What always made this law even pettier was people were paying a price for a slightly-too-large frame that they never even chose to have on their car. They picked up their new car from the lot and it was the dealer who slapped that frame on there to use as free advertising for their own dealership.

Of course, others chose to put a NY Giants or NY Yankees frame around their plate or one that reads I Love My Fur Babies. (The latter should get a ticket just for bad taste but not for obstruction of plate.)

It was a dumb law that feels like it was harassing people forever.

Yet it turns out it wasn’t anywhere close to the dumbest law New Jersey has. Oh, we have plenty. Like the town where it’s illegal to purchase ice cream after 6 p.m... Or the town where it’s illegal to annoy someone of the opposite sex, effectively banning marriage. Read on for some of New Jersey’s funniest and most absurd laws.

26 of the Dumbest Laws in New Jersey

The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in New Jersey

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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