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Pedestrian safety matters: New Jersey law

If you're involved in an accident because a driver didn't stop, you should know that you have many rights as a pedestrian. Depending on the situation, you may be concerned that you weren't in the right, but laws highly favor pedestrians in lieu of the dangers they face if they're hit.

So, what is the law in New Jersey when it comes to pedestrian safety?

In New Jersey, it's the law to stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk. Before April 2010, the law said that drivers needed only to yield to pedestrians, but now they must stop. This slight change is an attempt to reduce the number of people hit while in marked crosswalks due to drivers who don't completely stop or yield to them.

What happens to drivers who hit someone in a crosswalk?

Drivers who don't stop for those in a crosswalk face a $200 fine, 15 days of community service, two points on their licenses, insurance surcharges or a combination of all four penalties. The victim may also pursue compensation with a civil claim.

Since the yield law was changed from yielding to stopping, it now requires the driver to stop for as long as the pedestrian is crossing within the crosswalk and not just as long as the pedestrian is in that lane with the car. If a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection with no marked crosswalk, drivers must yield. Additionally, if a driver sees that someone has stopped for a pedestrian, that driver is not allowed to pass on either side of the stopped vehicle.

If someone is hit because a driver is unaware of these updated laws, that is no fault of the victim who can then seek compensation.

Source: State of New Jersey, Department of Law & Public Safety, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed Aug. 16, 2016

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