Drivers Who Cut Through This Town Might Owe $200

Leonia, New Jersey, is outlawing out-of-town drivers during rush hour
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2017 3:00 PM CST
Drivers Who Cut Through This Town Might Owe $200
Stock photo of a traffic jam.   (Getty/Kichigin)

Authorities in Leonia, New Jersey, are so tired of out-of-town drivers clogging their streets during rush hour that they're taking what even the police chief acknowledges is "extreme" action: They're outlawing out-of-town drivers at crunch time. Soon, anyone not from Leonia caught driving there between 6 and 10am and 4 and 9pm will face a $200 fine, reports the Star-Ledger. Cops would be able to quickly figure that out because residents are being issued yellow tags to hang on their rear-view mirrors. "It's an extreme initiative, I'll be the first to admit that," says Police Chief Thomas Rowe. "However the traffic that we deal with is completely extreme." The problem is that Jersey drivers cut through the small borough to get to the George Washington Bridge.

And as the New York Times notes, the chief sees traffic apps as the "game changer" in the congestion mess. “In the morning, if I sign onto my Waze account, I find there are 250,000 ‘Wazers’ in the area," Rowe says. "When the primary roads become congested, it directs vehicles into Leonia and pushes them onto secondary and tertiary roads." On some days, residents can't even get out of their own driveways, he says. Town officials insist the move is legal, but a representative from the National Motorists Association says otherwise and predicts the driving ban might be upended in the courts. Leonia is located about a mile from the bridge and has just 9,200 residents and 18 police officers. (More traffic stories.)

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