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When Must Traffic Stop for a Pedestrian in New Jersey?

It’s been several years since New Jersey changed its pedestrian safety laws, and yet pedestrian accidents continue to plague the Garden State. The problem of pedestrian fatalities is particularly urgent in New Jersey, where in 2014, 31 percent of all traffic fatalities were pedestrians, as opposed to the national average of 14 percent. Part of the problem may be the increase in “distracted walking” among pedestrians who stray off the curb while engaged with their smartphone or iPod, but it’s also clear that many motorists don’t understand their responsibilities when a pedestrian is crossing the street.

New Jersey law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk. Unfortunately, too many motorists still adhere to the old “yield” rule. Here is the difference: under the old yield rule, a driver could slow down to allow the pedestrian to pass, and then continue through the intersection when the pedestrian was in the next lane. The yield rule did not require a complete stop. The law today requires a full stop, and the car must remain stationary until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway.

If there is no marked crosswalk, the old yield rule is still in effect. If a pedestrian jaywalks, crossing in the middle of a block or against the light, drivers technically have the right of way, but are required to exercise due care for the pedestrian’s safety.

Violators are subject to a two-point moving violation and a fine of $200 or up to 15 days of community service. Pedestrians can be cited for jaywalking at a cost of $54.

Enforcement of the stop law varies throughout the state. Some municipalities require that a pedestrian be engaged in crossing the street before a driver is required to stop. Others will cite a driver if a pedestrian was at the corner preparing to cross. Is a pedestrian who is waiting to cross or ready to cross already “crossing” within the meaning of the law? The answer seems to depend on which town they’re in. Finally, a driver cannot be cited for failing to stop if the pedestrian moved to cross the road so suddenly that the driver did not have a reasonable opportunity to stop.

Pedestrian safety depends on motorists and pedestrians exercising due care and following the law at all times. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident in Bergen County or anywhere in New Jersey, Seigel Law is ready to help. Contact us online or call 201.444.4000 today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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    I have had a great experience thus far. The personal injury process is stressful and they have been helpful and courteous in getting me the right referrals. I was injured while visiting NJ and live in another state, my case is not an easy one but they are working diligently to help. I appreciate the personalized attention and highly recommend this firm.

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    The law office was great with my back and neck injury. They directed me to the right doctors and got me a huge settlement. Being a single mom, it help pay off all my debt and bills. Me and my kids can have a bill free christmas, with plenty of food and happiness, stress free. They are the best ever and I would highly recommend them to anyone rich or poor, who has been in an accident and need legal help...

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    After the misfortune of suffering an injury, I had the good fortune to choose Seigel Law to represent me. During my initial meeting with Jan Seigel, I found him to be extremely confident and reassuring---he totally put me at ease. I was represented by Mark Mc Bratney---an EXCELLENT attorney. He was supportive and professional through the entire process, and provided an excellent outcome for my case.

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    Honest, trustworthy and very straight forward. In unvarnished truth Jonas Siegel will tell you exactly where you stand and what direction you should go. Jonas has tenacity coupled with a degree of tenderness, but never losing site of the end goal, which is to protect, defend and have the best outcome for his clients. I defenetly recoment this law firm. Thanks for helping me out in my case.

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    I'd like to thank everyone at segal law for the amazing experience they provided me. From the moment I stepped in to the end of the case , segal and his team delivered exactly what they promised. I couldn't have received any better treatment from a law firm. Any concerns, questions or problems I had were addressed and dealt with accordingly...

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