When you come to a crosswalk while driving, you may want to make sure you actually and completely stop your car from moving. You cannot roll, eek, inch, or otherwise creep through a crosswalk, and you certainly cannot blast through it, without being subject to legal penalty.
“Yield” has been too vague a term to accomplish the desired impact in pedestrian safety, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the Rutgers Voorhees Transportation Institute, the New Jersey State Division of Highway Traffic Safety. It doesn’t mean stop, really, and it is hard to agree on a definition even conversationally.
The penalty is up from $100.00 to $200.00 if you are caught shirking your responsibility to stop for pedestrians. Interestingly, pedestrians have a legal responsibility as well, to look at signs, signals, and of course oncoming vehicles. Further, if you are crossing a street somewhere other than a crosswalk, you, the pedestrian, are legally required to yield to oncoming traffic.
Somewhat controversially, the law now assumes it is the driver’s fault if he or she hits a pedestrian, for not taking “due care,” and the burden is upon the driver as defendant to show the court otherwise. If you find yourself in either position, driver or pedestrian, it is important to contact a skilled, experienced attorney to ensure the best defense of your rights.