New Jersey has seen more than 500 pedestrian deaths since 2014, the most in any three-year stretch since the early 1990s. A proposed bill aims to curb that trend by shifting more of the responsibility onto the pedestrians, rather than drivers. The Driver and Pedestrian Mutual Responsibility Act would require pedestrians to cross at designated crosswalks. It also changes the requirement that drivers stop for people crossing a street – instead requiring them to yield – and removes driver liability if someone is hit in a crosswalk.
“What we have done is try to codify common sense and make sure that people use the good brain that God gave them before they cross the street,” said Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic. “You would think you wouldn’t necessarily need to put some of these common-sense items into writing, but unfortunately you do.”
The bill would completely reverse a 2010 law that said drivers must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, not just yield. The 2010 law also established that, barring evidence to the contrary, drivers are assumed to be at fault in collisions with pedestrians at crosswalks or unmarked intersections. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, chair of the Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, expressed doubts about the bill. “I just think about it in terms of the relative equities. I mean, you’ve got a person weighing on average 150 pounds versus a car weighing on average a ton and a half. It doesn’t seem like we should be doing legislation to put them on an equal footing,” he said.
Pedestrians accounted for 30 percent of traffic fatalities in New Jersey between 2014 and 2016, which is much higher than in past years. The trend appears to be continuing into 2017, with at least 49 traffic fatalities occurring in the first five weeks of the year. Of those, 18 were pedestrians (about 37 percent).
In New Jersey, failing to yield to a pedestrian can result in a $100 ticket as well as two points on your license. If you or a loved one has been charged with failing to yield to pedestrians or for any other traffic violation in New Jersey or New York, contact an attorney right away for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys who have helped many people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.