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3 N.J.A.R. 1

Skuba, William W.; Motor Vehicles, Division of v
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Citation: 3 N.J.A.R. 1
Decision Date: 1981
Synopsis: The Division of Motor Vehicles proposed to suspend the license of William W. Skuba because of his alleged involvement in a fatal accident. At the time of the accident, Skuba was issued a summons for an alleged violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-69 which prohibits a motor vehicle operator from knowingly allowing a person to ride on a portion of a vehicle not intended for the conveyance of passengers. The administrative law judge observed that in order for the proposed suspension to take effect, it would be necessary to prove that the licensee had violated the statute and that the violation was the proximate cause of death of the decedent. The judge determined that N.J.S.A. 39:4-69, under which the licensee was charged, must be read in conjunction with N.J.S.A. 39:4-61 and when so read, an inference may be drawn that it is permissible for an individual to ride in the rear of a pick-up so long as no part of his body protrudes beyond the limits of the vehicle. With regard to the question of proximate cause, the administrative law judge determined that the cause of decedent's death was not his riding in the rear of the vehicle, but rather the fact that he had climbed from the rear of the vehicle and, thereafter, jumped or fell from the running board. Thus, even if there had been a violation of the statute, it was not the proximate cause of decedent's death. Accordingly, the administrative law judge ordered that the proposed license suspension be dismissed. Lyle P. Hough, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, for Petitioner (James R. Zazzali, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney) David A. Lime, II, Esq., for Respondent (Wehling, Lime & Welchman, Attorneys)
Statute(s) Cited: 39:4-61 39:4-69