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Does New Jersey have specific pedestrian traffic laws?

Since 2010, New Jersey has had revised traffic laws to help reduce the number of deadly pedestrian accidents taking place on the roadways. The 2010 change was the first time in over half a century that the rules for drivers and pedestrians had changed in the state.

The revised law requires all drivers in New Jersey to come to a complete stop any time a pedestrian walks into a crosswalk. Previously, it was required that drivers should yield to the pedestrians, but this didn't always protect the person. Drivers who were anxious to continue could still run the risk of hitting the pedestrian.

With only the mandate to yield to pedestrians, authorities reported that drivers being unsure of the law had led to the state having one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the entire United States. Now, the law is clear, and it's not just a matter of slowing for a pedestrian. All vehicles must stop if a person is in a crosswalk. This is for their safety and the driver's wellbeing as well. In addition to this change, the burden of proof in an accident where a driver does hit a pedestrian now falls to the driver. In other words, the driver is presumed to be at fault for the accident unless there is information to prove otherwise.

Data from 2004 on showed that over 25 percent of all New Jersey traffic fatalities were made up of pedestrian deaths. That equates to around 150 people each year. In 2009, that number jumped to 159 fatalities, prompting the change.

Source: NJ.com, "Reducing deadly pedestrian accidents is goal of revised N.J. traffic law," Rohan Mascarenhas, accessed July 08, 2015

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