NJ Intersection law now in effect

4/1/2010 Update:

Law goes into effect today!

$200 fine for motorists – and $54 for jaywalking! More government control!

1/14/2010:

Do we need so many rules that are hard to enforce?

This is part of the reason why I hate the level of bureaucracy that our local government adds to basic common sense decisions such as “is it safe to go?” or “what does that sign mean?”

The NJ Assembly finalized a revised “pedestrian safety” bill this week, that supposedly “clarified” the law

State Assemblyman (and former Councilman) Ruben Ramos said, “Motorists and pedestrians need a clear, simple set of rules governing their interactions, especially with summer weather almost upon us. This bill provides that clarity, simply stating the responsibilities of approaching a crosswalk when on foot or behind the wheel.”

Hoboken pedestrians traverse the mile square city

Revised “Pedestrian Safety” Bill

This bill (A1249) revises the current law concerning pedestrian safety and traffic control.

Specifically, this bill requires drivers to stop and remain stopped to allow pedestrians to cross a roadway within a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon, or within one lane of, the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. This requirement is to apply at intersections where traffic is not controlled by a traffic control device or police officer, as well as at intersections where traffic is controlled by such devices or persons. As used in the bill, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

Under current law, motorists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but do not have the clear duty of stopping and remaining stopped. In addition, current law is ambiguous as to whether the area within which a pedestrian is protected by a motorist’s duty to yield includes all or only a portion of the crosswalk. The bill provides a clear duty to stop and remain stopped on, or within a lane of, the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling, a standard used in some other states, and one which may result in better enforcement of the crosswalk traffic laws in this State.

The bill increases the fine to be imposed on a person convicted of violating the provisions of R.S.39:4-36, which concerns intersections where traffic is not controlled by a traffic control device or police officer, from $100 to $200 and increases the portion of each such fine collected that is to be deposited into the “Pedestrian Safety Enforcement and Education Fund” pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2005, c.86 (C.39:4-36.2) from $50 to $100. The bill removes the possibility of imprisonment for a violation of R.S.39:4-36 and provides that a court may impose community service in addition to imposing the prescribed fine.

The bill provides a pedestrian with the clear right to complete a crossing begun at an intersection on a “go” or green signal, but not yet completed when the signal changes. To avoid redundancy in the law, the bill repeals R.S.39:4-35, which provides for a pedestrian’s right to complete a crossing.

This bill also requires drivers making a right turn at a red or yellow traffic signal or at a stop or yield sign to stop and remain stopped pursuant to R.S.39:4-36 for pedestrians crossing within the adjacent crosswalk into which the motorist is turning.

Lastly, this bill provides that when a collision occurs between a vehicle and a pedestrian within a marked crosswalk, or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, there is a permissive inference that the driver did not exercise due care for the safety of the pedestrian.

Questions that remain:

  • This means that all “yield to pedestrian” signs in Hoboken (that no one abides by anyway) – need to be changed to STOP for pedestrians. How much will that cost? When do they need to be changed? Are there penalties for cities that fail to properly change them? And don’t forget to add that line item to the BUDGET!!
  • The bill is still a bit ambiguous and doesn’t make provisions for: What distance is deemed acceptable for a pedestrian to just jettison out into an intersection?
  • How is “exercising due care” determined?
  • How can it be proven that “exercising due care” was or wasn’t taken?
  • Wouldn’t that just result in a court argument that cannot be proven without video evidence? (i.e., he said, she said)?
  • What in this bill actually HELPS pedestrians? No traffic impedements, no added curbs – to me, it’s just a waste of time, increased fines and more government control. In other words: ANOTHER HIDDEN TAX TO TAKE MONEY FROM NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS!!

NJ Pedestrian Bill crosswalk hoboken NJ

SEE FULL BILL A1249 AFTER THE JUMP…

ASSEMBLY, No. 1249 – STATE OF NEW JERSEY- 214th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

Sponsored by:
Assemblywoman LINDA STENDER District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)
Assemblyman JOHN S. WISNIEWSKI District 19 (Middlesex)
Assemblyman JON M. BRAMNICK District 21 (Essex, Morris, Somerset and Union)
Assemblyman RUBEN J. RAMOS, JR. District 33 (Hudson)
Assemblyman THOMAS P. GIBLIN District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Rumpf, Assemblywoman Evans, Assemblymen Chivukula, Conners and Assemblywoman Wagner

SYNOPSIS

Revises laws concerning pedestrian safety and traffic control; requires drivers to stop and remain stopped for pedestrians under certain conditions.

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

An Act concerning pedestrian safety and traffic control and amending R.S.39:4-32, R.S.39:4-36, R.S.39:4-115, and R.S.39:4-144, and repealing R.S.39:4-35.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. R.S.39:4-32 is amended to read as follows:

39:4-32. On highways where traffic is controlled by a traffic control signal or by traffic or police officers:

a. Pedestrians shall not cross a roadway against the “stop” or red signal at a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked, unless otherwise specifically directed to go by a traffic or police officer, or official traffic control device.

b. No driver of a vehicle shall fail to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian crossing a roadway at a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon, or within one lane of, the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning during the “go” or green signal. As used in this subsection, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes conveying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

c. A pedestrian crossing or starting across the intersection on a “go” or green signal, but who is still within the crosswalk when the signal changes, shall have the right of way until the pedestrian has reached the opposite curb or place of safety.

d. No pedestrian shall leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield or stop.

e. Whenever any vehicle is stopped to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

f. Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

g. Nothing contained herein shall relieve a driver from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway. Nothing herein shall relieve a pedestrian from using due care for his safety.

h. In the event of a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian within a marked crosswalk, or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, there shall be a permissive inference that the driver did not exercise due care for the safety of the pedestrian.

(cf: P.L.1951, c.23, s.22)

2. R.S.39:4-36 is amended to read as follows:

39:4-36. a. Except at crosswalks when the movement of traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals, or where otherwise regulated by municipal, county, or State regulation, and except where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided:

(1) The driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a marked crosswalk, or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, when the pedestrian is upon, or within one lane of, the half of the roadway, upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. As used in this paragraph, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes conveying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

(2) No pedestrian shall leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield or stop.

(3) Whenever any vehicle is stopped to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

(4) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(5) Nothing contained herein shall relieve a driver from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway. Nothing contained herein shall relieve a pedestrian from using due care for his safety.

b. A person violating any paragraph of subsection a. of this section shall, upon conviction thereof, pay a fine to be imposed by the court in the amount of $200. The court may also impose upon a person violating any paragraph of subsection a. of this section, a penalty of community service not to exceed 15 days in such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate.

c. Of each fine imposed and collected pursuant to subsection b. of this section, $100 shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer who shall annually deposit the moneys into the “Pedestrian Safety Enforcement and Education Fund” created by section 1 of P.L.2005, c.86 (C.39:4-36.2).

d. In the event of a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian within a marked crosswalk, or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, there shall be a permissive inference that the driver did not exercise due care for the safety of the pedestrian.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.86, s.2)

3. R.S.39:4-115 is amended to read as follows:

39:4-115. The driver of a vehicle or the motorman of a streetcar: a. intending to turn to the right or left at an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic or police officer, shall proceed to make either turn with proper care to avoid accidents and, except as provided in b. below, only upon the “go” signal unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, an official sign or special signal; or b. intending to turn right at an intersection where traffic is controlled by a traffic control signal shall, unless an official sign of the State, municipality, or county authority having jurisdiction over the intersection prohibits the same, proceed to make the turn upon a “stop” or “caution” signal with proper care to avoid accidents after coming to a full stop, observing traffic in all directions , yielding to other vehicular traffic traveling in a direction in which the turn will be made, and stopping and remaining stopped for pedestrians crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk, or at an unmarked crosswalk, into which the driver is turning. Both the approach for and the turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless such intersection is otherwise posted.

(cf: P.L.1976, c.46, s.1)

4. R.S.39:4-144 is amended to read as follows:

39:4-144. No driver of a vehicle or street car shall enter upon or cross an intersecting street marked with a “stop” sign unless:

a. The driver has first brought the vehicle or street car to a complete stop at a point within five feet of the nearest crosswalk or stop line marked upon the pavement at the near side of the intersecting street and shall proceed only after yielding the right of way to all vehicular traffic on the intersecting street which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

b. No driver of a vehicle or street car shall enter upon or cross an intersecting street marked with a “yield right of way” sign without first slowing to a reasonable speed for existing conditions and visibility, stopping if necessary, and the driver shall yield the right of way to all vehicular traffic on the intersecting street which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard; unless, in either case, the driver is otherwise directed to proceed by a traffic or police officer or traffic control signal , or as provided in R.S. 39:4-145.

c. No driver of a vehicle or street car shall turn right at an intersecting street marked with a “stop” sign or “yield right of way” sign unless the driver stops and remains stopped for pedestrians crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk, or at an unmarked crosswalk, into which the driver is turning.

(cf: P.L.1958, c.114, s.4)

5. R.S.39:4-35 is repealed.

6. This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month after enactment, but such anticipatory administrative action may be taken in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

51 Responses

  1. TheGreenMan says:

    I also very confused here. If you say it’s “just more laws” and just a way to increase government control and income, then why not drop ALL laws? I mean what is the speed limit then if not a way to just increase government control? What about ANY pedestrian law?

    To me, this sounds like a good idea. Hoboken is not a driving town like most towns. It’s a town where there should ALWAYS be caution invoked by drivers. If you’re going 40 MPH, you’re not going to have time to stop…but as someone who very rarely drives in town (once a month maybe on the way out of town), I’m always looking for pedestrians as I get close to an intersection and then stopping if they’re coming. The problem is half of the drivers fly through intersections trying to “beat” the pedestrians. For what? To save a few seconds?

    Speed bumps should be installed at EVERY intersection. There’s no good reason for them not to be. Make them bigger. It’s very simple really.

    All in all though, I can’t see much of a problem with this law. If pedestrians are crossing at a crosswalk, they should always get the benefit…whether they’re being “arrogant” or not. Actually their attitude about it really shouldn’t come into play at all.

  2. xxrjxx says:

    I had a delightful interaction with an elderly lady–crossing the sidewalk coming from the Path over towards Green Rock, I’m crossing the street–lady literally comes within a foot of hitting me, thereafter screaming at me “Get out of the f#!@ing street!” Setting aside the fact that granny may have been suffering from dementia or otherwise been off her meds, do you really think this law is going to make a BIT of a difference to these people? Do you really think it’s going to be enforced? Naaaah. Neither did I.

  3. truth1 says:

    Worth repeating, EDUCATION, ENFORCEMENT AND ENGINEERING are the keys to SAFETY!…laws that are not enforced are tantamount to having no laws at all!….

    • emarche says:

      Right, but the problem with the whole ‘EDUCATION, ENFORCEMENT AND ENGINEERING’ thing as far as Hoboken is concerned:

      1. Education won’t work. People in this town either have their ears plugged with iPods or their focus distracted by cellphones to pay attention to the traffic, let alone rules.

      2. Enforcement won’t work. For it to work, you’d have to get cops out of their cars and off their asses to enforce the rules. While there are some undeniably some great cops in this town, there are also a number that see this kind of work as beneath them. Case in point: the cop who can regularly be seen taking a nap in his car up by 14th. Keep your eyes open on any given weekday and you’ll see him.

      3. Engineering won’t work. Hoboken doesn’t have the money. ’nuff said.

      And while I’d like to believe that the engineering piece could be funded by summons written for jaywalking by cops who are doing their jobs…it ain’t gonna happen in Hoboken.

      In response to truth1 who said:

      Worth repeating, EDUCATION, ENFORCEMENT AND ENGINEERING are the keys to SAFETY!…laws that are not enforced are tantamount to having no laws at all!….

      • Journey says:

        My take on the failure of the 3Es.

        Education – won’t work because people break rules they know all the time as long as they feel they can get away with it. Which brings us to…

        Enforcement – Have you seen how many people flaunt the rules? It would take a ridiculous number of beat cops to even make a dent in it.

        Engineering – Will take money we don’t have and political willpower that is really lacking. Some of the methods that could be implemented would remove illegal parking spaces near intersections and I can’t imagine any politician doing that. Not without a fatal accident to spearhead the change.

        In response to emarche who said:

        Right, but the problem with the whole ‘EDUCATION, ENFORCEMENT AND ENGINEERING’ thing as far as Hoboken is concerned:

        1. Education won’t work. People in this town either have their ears plugged with iPods or their focus distracted by cellphones to pay attention to the traffic, let alone rules.

        2. Enforcement won’t work. For it to work, you’d have to get cops out of their cars and off their asses to enforce the rules. While there are some undeniably some great cops in this town, there are also a number that see this kind of work as beneath them. Case in point: the cop who can regularly be seen taking a nap in his car up by 14th. Keep your eyes open on any given weekday and you’ll see him.

        3. Engineering won’t work. Hoboken doesn’t have the money. ’nuff said.

        And while I’d like to believe that the engineering piece could be funded by summons written for jaywalking by cops who are doing their jobs…it ain’t gonna happen in Hoboken.

    • whineanddineinhob says:

      Enforcement is the only language these fools understand. Hit them in the wallet and it hurts them. Education?? You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!!!

      In response to truth1 who said:

      Worth repeating, EDUCATION, ENFORCEMENT AND ENGINEERING are the keys to SAFETY!…laws that are not enforced are tantamount to having no laws at all!….

  4. Easy-E says:

    Anyone else have to read this a few times? Glad they made it a lot clearer for me to understand.

    Looks like something a 6th grader would write before someone explained what a run-on sentence is.

    “No driver of a vehicle shall fail to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian crossing a roadway at a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon, or within one lane of, the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning during the “go” or green signal. As used in this subsection, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes conveying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.”

    • Journey says:

      Try read Hobbes Locke or Hume. I still remember counting 16 commas in one sentence. Damn British philosphers.

      I’m no lawyer, but maybe that is the norm for they way they write.

      In response to Easy-E who said:

      Anyone else have to read this a few times? Glad they made it a lot clearer for me to understand.

      Looks like something a 6th grader would write before someone explained what a run-on sentence is.

      “No driver of a vehicle shall fail to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian crossing a roadway at a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon, or within one lane of, the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning during the “go” or green signal. As used in this subsection, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes conveying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.”

  5. Easy-E says:

    By the way, didn’t Ruben make a statement on a video postes here that you can’t legislate against things because people are going to do them anyway? Funny thing is, at the time sCammarano was standing there next to him and I think the subject was something about bribes or corruption.

    I thought of this because at the time I thought it was such an odd thing for a lawmaker to say.

  6. midtownauthentic says:

    In a few months we will see beer sales close at 10 as well, just watch

  7. HansBrix says:

    How long did it take for people to forget all about this? Six hours?

    Crosswalks are as dangerous as they’ve always been. Just this am I almost got run down by an SUV driver who could see me halfway down the block. In fact I’d swear that he sped up in order to keep me from crossing ahead of him.

  8. Journey says:

    Any law that is not enforced is not followed.

    • matt_72 says:

      And if current laws were enforced, this law that also isn’t being enforced wouldn’t be needed. You would have thought that the sponsor of the bill who is a Hoboken resident would have understood that.[quote comment=”193875″]Any law that is not enforced is not followed.[/quote]

      • emarche says:

        “You would have thought that the sponsor of the bill who is a Hoboken resident would have understood that.”

        Uh…Matt? We’re talking about Ramos. Not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. [quote comment=”193885″]And if current laws were enforced, this law that also isn’t being enforced wouldn’t be needed. You would have thought that the sponsor of the bill who is a Hoboken resident would have understood that.

        [/quote]

  9. 0h7b0k3n0 says:

    I’m living here 33 years and I have no idea WHY everyone hasn’t learned how to cross the street by now. My mother taught me. I’m teaching my daughter. Look both ways before stepping into the street. It has nothing to do with drivers or parked cars. If you get hit 99% of the time you didn’t LOOK. If you did and you saw the car coming and ASSUMED they would stop. BAD IDEA. Wait for the car to stop or show it’s slowing down. Wait for a wave or flash of their lights. JUST WAIT.

    The IDIOTIC pedestrians that put their lives at risk because they are in a hurry to get to the next corner should be fined.

    • Journey says:

      True 0h7b0k3n0.

      You can’t discount the problem of people parked in such a matter that you have to walk out into the intersection to see around them.

      I’ve actually walked backwards into an intersection to see around parked cars rather than push the stroller into unknown danger.[quote comment=”193878″]I’m living here 33 years and I have no idea WHY everyone hasn’t learned how to cross the street by now. My mother taught me. I’m teaching my daughter. Look both ways before stepping into the street. It has nothing to do with drivers or parked cars. If you get hit 99% of the time you didn’t LOOK. If you did and you saw the car coming and ASSUMED they would stop. BAD IDEA. Wait for the car to stop or show it’s slowing down. Wait for a wave or flash of their lights. JUST WAIT. The IDIOTIC pedestrians that put their lives at risk because they are in a hurry to get to the next corner should be fined.[/quote]

  10. plywood says:

    Great! We should simply have these clear and easy to understand regulations prominently posted at either end of every crosswalk for quick reference, with an adjacent call box to an at-the-ready lawyer to go over any subtleties that are overlooked in these all-too-brief guidelines.

  11. TJD says:

    Speaking of crossing the street, what’s with the different crosswalk painting schemes in Hoboken? We have crosswalks with two solid white lines perpendicular to traffic marking the crossing “lane”. We have crosswalks with “zebra” lines parallel to traffic (like the crosswalk on the Abbey Road cover art). We have crosswalks with the same zebra lines, but painted at a diagonal. Then, we also have crosswalks with combinations of the two solid white lines and the zebra stripes. Lastly, there’s also the varying thickness of the lines as well.

    Do the different paint styles have different meanings? Or is it just artistic license by the crosswalk painters?

  12. jmwalker31uk says:

    As cars tend to park close or on the crosswalk, it makes it near impossible for either pedestrians or drivers / cyclists to see each other until it is too late to stop. After watching the mayhem that ensues on the corner of 1st and Bloomfield in the evening (cars coming up Bloomfield have to nose out onto 1st to see if any cars are coming due to the stop line being 25 ft back) and the road rage that the drivers were experiencing toward each other, I would suggest that:

    ….the majority of the junctions in Hoboken without stop lights are made into mandatory 4 way stops. OK, so it would take a couple more minutes for a driver to get across town (maybe this would discourage the people using Hoboken as a cut thru?) but it would provide a much safer environment for all, lower traffic speeds and cost a minimal amount.

  13. Silva says:

    Fox news just reported the results of a 4 year study. Pedestrians who wear headphones while walking are 3 times more likely to get hit by a car. Thank God for that study. We would have never figured it out.

  14. LobstaGirl says:

    So, now all pedestrians can walk out in a cross walk, during a green light, and have the right of way? Isn’t this the entire idea to have the pedestrian to STOP…….NJ what is wrong with you? Common sense is no longer common.

  15. mooshu says:

    Yeah, that FOX network is sure clever. Next they’ll tell us that texting drivers put pedestrians at risk…

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