New Jersey Drivers Must Now Stop For Pedestrians


Posted on 4th April 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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When you live in a small town as I do, you learn to do this as a matter of courtesy. The manners of driving are just different in small towns and the person you wait for may be a client, the mother of your child’s friend, a senior citizen. Sometimes I worry that some big city person will not be paying attention and rear end me for it, but all and all, it is just good driving behavior.

My driving manners became the law of the State in New Jersey this week with a new law that requires vehicles to come to a complete stop when a pedestrian enters a crosswalk. The law was being lauded by a man whose son was struck by a man who drove through a stop sign while being distracted, apparently reaching for a drink.

Joel Feldman’s son Casey, a 21-year-old college student, was a statistic last year. About 150 pedestrians on average have been killed every year since 2004 in the Garden State, but that number rose to 159 last year, according to data from the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety. Casey was one of the 159.

The change in New Jersey’s law requiring drivers to stop, not just yield, to pedestrians in crosswalks is meant to cut down on pedestrian deaths.

Feldman, talking to The Star-Ledger about his son’s death in Ocean City, said, “The driver was distracted, reaching for an ice tea or something, and just went through the stop sign. It all happened in broad daylight.”

The penalties under the new law range from a $200 fine, a $100 increase from the old law; community service and two points on a driver’s license.

One former Rutgers University transportation expert said the law will make it clear that drivers must stop for pedestrians, a far different and less ambiguous mandate than just asking motorists to yield.