Jaywalking: illegal or legal in NJ?
Many individuals have heard a variety of different answers regarding whether jaywalking is legal or illegal in New Jersey, quite often stemming from nothing more than personal opinion.
Truthfully, it is important that everyone living in Trenton or the surrounding areas understand the jaywalking laws in New Jersey. Before you cross the street away from a crosswalk, read these guidelines on what jaywalking really is, and when doing so may be considered a violation of the law.
What exactly is jaywalking?
Throughout the United States, jaywalking is a term that encompasses the act of walking from one side of the street to another at a location other than a crosswalk. A pedestrian can also jaywalk if he or she crosses at a stoplight when posted information or electronic signs currently prohibit them from doing so.
Regarding this action, New Jersey Statute 39:4-36 declares that “pedestrians must obey pedestrian signals and use crosswalks at signalized intersections,” and that “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.”
Ultimately, pedestrians, like motor vehicles, must follow traffic laws to ensure their own personal safety as well as that of others sharing the road. Those being caught jaywalking can be stopped and ticketed by a police officer.
What are the penalties for jaywalking?
In New Jersey, those issued citations for jaywalking should not expect to spend any time in jail. Per the regulations set forth by Statute 39:4-32 and 33 though, if a pedestrian does not obey a pedestrian signal, or does not use a crosswalk at a signalized intersection, they can be subject to a fine of $54 for both offenses.
Meanwhile, drivers must also follow the right of way rules and can similarly be fined for violations, though the fines are steeper. Drivers in violation of Statute 39:4-36 requiring drivers yield to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks may be liable for a $200 fine and can get two points added to their license.
Perhaps most important to those injured by a negligent driver, though, is the effects of jaywalking and other traffic citations (issued to drivers and/or pedestrians) in the event of a pedestrian-vehicle accident.
How can jaywalking affect an accident case?
If you’re pursuing an accident case against a driver you believe to be negligent and liable for the accident, your own negligence could also affect the case. Pennsylvania follows modified comparative fault laws, meaning that accident victims can still recover compensation for their damages if they are partially at fault for the accident.
However, those more than 50 percent at fault are barred from recovery, and any percentage below 51 percent will proportionally reduce the amount of compensation an individual recovers. So if a pedestrian is in violation of New Jersey’s jaywalking laws, he or she may be mostly or partly responsible for the accident.
Being partially responsible for the accident will affect the amount of compensation he or she recovers. Thus, it’s important to seek legal help to address any citations you received in the event of an accident and to establish the driver’s fault.