On Monday Then Acting Governor Steve Sweeney signed Assembly Bill No. 1329 into law which requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
- The new measure requires drivers to stop and remain stopped while a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk. Previously motorists were required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks but did not have a clear obligation to stop and remain stopped.
- It 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 for pedestrians crossing within the adjacent crosswalk into which the motorist is turning.
- Lastly it 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.
In many places in the country drivers are trained to stop for pedestrians. Put your foot down in a marked crosswalk and four lanes of traffic will come to a stop to let you cross. With proper outreach and enforcement this law can make a huge difference in pedestrian safety. But it will be a heavy lift, it's hard to break old habits, especially if you are already ten minutes late.