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Improving pedestrian safety in New Jersey

The rate of pedestrian accidents and injuries in New Jersey is higher per capita than the nation as a whole. To combat this problem, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety works with local agencies to educate drivers and pedestrians about their rights and responsibilities. While it may be impossible to eliminate pedestrian injuries completely, they could be reduced if drivers remain vigilant and obey traffic laws.

Many pedestrian knockdown accidents occur in marked or unmarked crosswalks. New Jersey law requires motorists to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk and to yield the right of way to pedestrians in an unmarked crosswalk. Failure to comply with this statute may lead to a $200 fine, two penalty points and up to 15 days of community service. If the intersection is controlled by a traffic signal or police officer, both pedestrians and motorists are required to behave as directed. Pedestrians are also expected to use tunnels or overhead crossings if they are available.

Drivers may also face sanctions if they attempt to pass a vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. Half of the revenue collected in fines for violating these rules is allocated each year to a fund with the goal of improving pedestrian safety through education and enforcement.

Pedestrians often suffer debilitating injuries when they are struck by a motor vehicle, and they may pursue civil remedies if the driver involved acted negligently. In these situations, a personal injury attorney can seek to hold reckless drivers financially responsible for their actions by bringing a lawsuit against them on behalf of the injured victims.

Source: Office of the Attorney General, "Pedestrian Safety", accessed on March 20, 2015

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