SENATE, No. 2480

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 13, 2009

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator THOMAS H. KEAN, JR.

District 21 (Essex, Morris, Somerset and Union)

Senator JAMES BEACH

District 6 (Camden)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Gordon and Scutari

 

 

 

 

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

     As introduced.

  


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 [at intersections] is controlled by a traffic control signal or by traffic or police officers [, pedestrians]:

     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"] “go” or green signal, but who is still within the crosswalk when the signal changes, shall have the right of way [over all vehicles, including those making turns,] until [he] the pedestrian has reached the opposite curb or place of safety [, and no operator of a  vehicle shall fail to yield the right of way to him].    

     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. [The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except] Except at crosswalks when the movement of traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals, or where otherwise [prohibited] regulated by municipal, county, or State regulation, and except where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided [, but no]:

     (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 [suddenly] 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

     [Nothing contained herein shall relieve a pedestrian from using due care for his safety.]

     (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 [$100] $200.  The court may also impose upon a [term of imprisonment] 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, [$50] $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"] “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"] “stop” or ["Caution"] “caution” signal with proper care to avoid accidents after coming to a full stop, observing traffic in all directions [and], yielding to [all pedestrians and] 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 [he] :

     a.  The driver has first brought [his] the vehicle or street car to a complete stop at a point within [5] 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, [he] the driver is otherwise directed to proceed by a traffic or police officer or traffic control signal , or as provided in [section] R.S. 39:4-145 [of this Title].

     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.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill 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.