In a world where cars dominate the roads, pedestrian safety is of utmost concern. In light of this, the state of New Jersey has enacted statutes aimed at ensuring that those who walk our streets are kept safe. Those who violate traffic laws may find themselves facing a traffic ticket, a disorderly persons offense, or even a traffic crime charge. Below, our criminal defense attorneys explore the law related to pedestrian safety in New Jersey and how they related to traffic offense charge risk for motorists.
Pedestrian Safety: Why It’s A Concern In New Jersey
Thousands of pedestrians are tragically killed in car accidents each year in the U.S., making up a significant amount of all fatal car accidents. Recognizing these alarming statistics, New Jersey has taken it upon themselves to review the safety of their intersections and develop strategies to protect pedestrians.
Drivers Must Yield To Pedestrians
Right-Of-Way At Unmarked Crosswalks
Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians who may be at unmarked crosswalks at intersections. This doesn’t apply if a police officer or traffic signal controls the traffic or if there’s a special pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing.
Stopping At Marked Crosswalks
If a pedestrian is on or about to enter the half of the road where your car is traveling, you must stop and wait until they’ve safely crossed. This rule especially applies if you’re driving on a one-way street.
Pedestrians Shouldn’t Dash
Pedestrians shouldn’t suddenly leave the curb and dash into the path of a vehicle too close to stop or yield.
Passing Stopped Cars
If a vehicle stops to allow a pedestrian to cross, other vehicles coming from behind shouldn’t overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
Pedestrians Outside Crosswalks
If a pedestrian is walking on the roadway and not in a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, they should yield to vehicles.
Due Care Is A Must
Both drivers and pedestrians must always act with due care to ensure safety.
If a car hits a pedestrian within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, it’s generally assumed that the driver wasn’t being careful enough.
Penalties For Violations
Breaking any of these rules can result in a $200 fine and two points on your license. There’s also a potential for community service for up to 15 days. If a pedestrian is seriously injured due to a violation, the driver may face a fine between $100 and $500, up to 25 days in jail, and a license suspension of up to six months. The stakes of this kind of situation speak to why it is so important to consult with a traffic infraction lawyer as soon as you can after being cited for alleged wrongdoing.
Frequently Asked Questions On New Jersey’s Pedestrian Safety Statutes
Do Drivers Always Have To Yield To Pedestrians?
While drivers are generally expected to yield to pedestrians, there are exceptions. For example, they don’t have to yield at intersections where traffic is controlled by police officers or traffic signals. Also, if there’s a special pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing, the general yielding rule may not apply.
If A Car Stops For Me At A Crosswalk, Can I Just Cross The Street Immediately?
Pedestrians should never step off a curb suddenly into the path of a vehicle that’s too close to stop or yield. It’s crucial to ensure it’s safe to cross, even if a car is already stopped.
I Saw A Car Stopped For A Pedestrian. Can I Overtake That Car?
No, you should not overtake and pass a car that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway. It’s both unsafe and against the law.
What If There’s No Marked Crosswalk, Can I Just Walk Across The Street?
Pedestrians are expected to yield the right-of-way to vehicles when not crossing within a marked or unmarked intersection crosswalk. Always prioritize safety and find the best spot to cross.
What Are The Penalties If A Driver Doesn’t Yield To A Pedestrian?
Violators can be fined up to $200 and might be required to perform up to 15 days of community service. If a violation results in serious injury to a pedestrian, the penalties increase, with potential jail time, higher fines, and possible license suspension.
What Constitutes “Serious Bodily Injury” In These Statutes?
“Serious bodily injury” refers to injuries that pose a risk of death, serious disfigurement, or loss or impairment of a body part or organ.
If A Car Hits A Pedestrian On A Crosswalk, Is The Driver Always At Fault?
If a collision occurs between a car and a pedestrian within a crosswalk, there’s a general presumption that the driver did not exercise due care. However, specifics of the incident would still be considered in any legal proceedings. Our traffic offense attorney team can provide greater clarity.
Are Pedestrians Also Responsible For Their Safety?
Yes, both drivers and pedestrians are required to exercise due care. Pedestrians shouldn’t act carelessly, and they should always prioritize their safety while crossing or walking on the roadway. With that said, you could face allegations of traffic crimes and find yourself needing the assistance of a criminal defense attorney to represent your interests in court even if a pedestrian is partially responsible for their own harm. Don’t count on pedestrians to behave in ways that insulate you from allegations related to a serious traffic offense. By driving defensively, you can hopefully avoid lesser traffic tickets and more significant criminal charges alike.
Don’t Let An Alleged Fail To Yield Offense In New Jersey Overwhelm You
When you’re faced with a traffic ticket and you are interested in defending your traffic violations case, it’s essential to have a criminal defense lawyer / traffic ticket lawyer on your side. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys aren’t just any lawyers. They are a formidable team of criminal defense lawyers with over 200 years of combined experience, boasting seven former prosecutors and a legacy of excellence. With four of our attorneys having directorial roles in vital divisions and accolades such as being selected for the National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2021, and certification by the NJ Supreme Court – our credentials are unmatched. Don’t risk your future. Reach out to our traffic offense attorneys now at (855) 925-4034 or online for a strong defense.