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Pedestrians and the right of way on roadways

As a pedestrian in New Jersey, you may be concerned about your safety. It's true that there are a high number of accidents, but laws are there to help prevent further accidents from taking place.

New Jersey has very specific traffic laws aimed at helping pedestrians stay safe. For instance, when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, motorists must stop and stay stopped. Motorists who do not stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk are breaking the law. If an officer of the law catches someone disobeying this law, one or several penalties can apply. These include a $200 fine, 15 days of community service, insurance surcharges and points on the driver's license.

Motorists also should yield to the right of way of a pedestrian who is crossing within an unmarked crosswalk. It's assumed that these crosswalks are at intersections. However, if a pedestrian runs into traffic and causes an accident, the driver may not be found liable.

When a driver stops to allow you to cross the street, it's important to double check oncoming traffic. It's not legal for other drivers to pass the stopped vehicle, and if the other car does overtake, that driver can be held liable for the injuries you suffer.

It's important to know that New Jersey does have a disproportionate number of pedestrian accidents when compared to the rest of the nation. Staying safe is going to require more than just the law; you need to be wary when you cross the road, even if you have the right of way. If you're hit and have been as careful as possible, you're in a good position when you file your claim.

Source: New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed Feb. 29, 2016

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