Proposed Law in New Jersey Requires Drivers, Pedestrians to Share Road Safely

A proposed law in the New Jersey state assembly would require pedestrians to cross at marked crosswalks and require drivers to yield but not necessarily stop.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) hopes the controversial bill won't make it out of the Transportation Committee, which he chairs. 

"This would have pedestrians engage in a game of chicken, to see if the cars will actually stop," he said. "If motorists are not willing to stop for pedestrians currently, making it optional as this bill would do, is going to make the situation worse." 

But the bill's authors say pedestrians need to use common sense and can't just step off the curb wherever they feel like it.

The proposed bill still holds that pedestrians have the right of way if they are crossing with the light in the crosswalk. But it also says that drivers aren't necessarily liable if they hit someone who has stepped out so quickly that the driver can't stop. 

In New Jersey, pedestrian deaths account for almost a third of all traffic deaths. 

"Technology is a blessing and a curse," said Bergenfield Police Captain Mustafa Rabbah. "People take their eyes off the roads, and that could be the difference between life and death for a pedestrian." 

There has been a big safety campaign in the state to cut down on distracted walking, where people are using their phones and not looking before they cross the street. 

Contact Us