Monday, January 12, 2009

What does it take to be charged after hitting a pedestrian?

The Record out of Bergen County reported recently of a case in Wanaque where a crossing guard, while in a crosswalk, was hit by a driver. Even though the crossing guard is employed under the police department, the local police felt that the crash was unavoidable and just an "accident." Never mind that, according to reports, the crossing guard was holding his "STOP" paddle and was wearing an approved traffic safety vest.

According to the story, the driver was distracted by the appearance of children on the opposite corner from where the crossing guard was hit. I wonder if she had rear-ended a car and gave the same excuse if she would have been given a summons? Pure speculation of course but when you consider that at least she probably also disobeyed a traffic safety officer's signal (the "STOP" paddle), I'm left shaking my head as to why 2 summonses weren't issued. I've read of cops throwing the book at drivers for doing much less.

Sorry but a driver shouldn't have to go so far as kill a pedestrian first before a summons is issued. And in this second case "failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk," 2 points and a fine around $100 hardly seems to fitting considering a person (without 3000lbs of armored steel protecting their bodies) is dead.

It sure sounds like New Jersey could really use a Vulnerable Users Law because when a driver fails to yield to another automobile, often its just sheet metal that is bent. When a driver doesn't yield to a pedestrian or a cyclists the consequences are far worse and often deadly.


audrey said...

hi - thanks for keeping us up to date on this (& all other issues here). but looks to me from the report that the guard is in fair condition, not dead - do you have a different update?

audrey said...

doh. i should read slower before posting.

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