Whether you live in a small town or big city, you will likely find yourself driving in an area with pedestrian traffic. But when do you have to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians? And what rules to apply to other vehicles when approaching a car stopped for pedestrians as they cross the street? The Pennsylvania rules of the road provide the answers to these questions about potential pedestrian accidents.
Chapter 35 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code outlines a motorist’s duties when approaching pedestrians in crosswalks. Specifically, Section 3542 states that drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when there are no traffic control signals in place and that pedestrians must exercise care as well by not suddenly leaving the curb.
Learn Your Rights as a Pennsylvania Pedestrian
It also covers what drivers must do if they find another vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross the street.
§3542(c): Limitation on vehicles passing: Whenever any vehicle is stopped at any crosswalk at an intersection or at any marked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
In short, a pedestrian using a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection that is not controlled by a traffic signal has the right-of-way, and as such, a motorist must yield.
If a vehicle is stopped and yielding to a pedestrian at an intersection or marked crosswalk, an approaching vehicle is not allowed to pass it. Both vehicles must stop and yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian. Things are different if a pedestrian was not in a crosswalk.
What to Do When Drivers Do Not Adhere to Pedestrian Law
If you have been injured in a rear-end collision while stopped at a crosswalk, you will likely have a claim against the driver who hit you. As discussed above, the other driver has a duty to stop. A good attorney will use this fact to demonstrate the other driver’s negligence and help get you the most for your injuries. In fact, the attorney may argue that the negligent driver was “Negligent Per Se.”
In Pennsylvania, to prove negligence per se a plaintiff must show the following.
- The defendant’s conduct violated a the statute or ordinance
- Said conduct caused harm of the kind the statute was intended to avoid
- That the plaintiff is within the class of persons the statute was intended to protect
In the situation discussed above, we are dealing with a statue that expressly orders motorists to stop behind a car yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Further, injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident are the type of injuries the statute intends to avoid. And, it can be argued that the statute was created to protect both the driver and passengers in the vehicle stopped and the pedestrian.
As such, you may have a Negligence Per Se claim in addition to your “ordinary” negligence claim against a driver that rear-ends you at a crosswalk. Talk to Cordisco & Saile LLC about Negligence Per Se and whether it applies to your case. Call us today at 215-642-2335.