Blue Line

As reported in NJ.Com, the U.S. Department of Transportation has opined that painting blue lines in between double yellow highway dividing lines is an unsafe practice and must therefore be removed.  In October, many New Jersey towns painted blue lines in the middle of downtown roads to show support for law enforcement.  The support at that time came in the wake of unprecedented attacks that were being perpetrated on law enforcement officers throughout the United States.

One New Jersey County asked The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration to weigh in on the legality of the practice.  In response, the USDOTFHA stated that “There are many appropriate and fitting ways to recognize service to the public that do not involve the modification of a traffic control device, which can put the road user at risk due to misinterpretation of its meaning,”  This opinion came from a December 8 letter from the Federal Highway Administration to the Somerset County Engineering Division who inquired about the practice.

“The use of blue lines as part of centerline markings does not comply with the provisions of the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways),” the letter states.  The USDOTFHA says the space in between the double yellow lines should remain empty. In certain cases, black paint can be used “where a light-colored pavement does not provide sufficient contrast with the markings,” the MUTCD states.

It is our understanding that when towns first started painting the blue lines on county roads, local officials said they did so only after receiving permission from the county.  There has been no response from either the County of Somerset or the Towns that have painted the roads as to whether they will remove the “thin blue line” that has been painted in-between the double yellow.

In the area of New Jersey where I am from, the center of a double yellow line is painted to mark a parade route twice a year.  It is painted green in March for the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and then adorns the colors of the Italian flag in October to commemorate Columbus Day.  This has been going on for as long as I can remember.  The colors remain on the road for months; and as far as I know there are no complaints from either citizens, the Towns, nor the County.

However, I find it interesting that when the center of a double yellow line is painted blue to honor our Law Enforcement Officers we now learn that such actions are in essence “illegal” and should be deemed a safety concern.  Really?

As we sit back on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, I want to thank each and every Law Enforcement Officer for all that they do each day of the year to keep me and my family safe.  As I travel the State of New Jersey today representing many of these Officers I hope I see more of the thin blue lines on our roadways as a reminder to America’s citizens of  the service these brave men and women provide to us on a daily basis.

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.