TRENTON – The Senate Transportation Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio that would increase the fine for failure to yield to a pedestrian by $50 and direct that money into a fund dedicated to pedestrian safety enforcement and education.
“There are many crosswalks in New Jersey that are simply unsafe for pedestrians,” added Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “Motorists need to realize that they share the roads with more than just other vehicles. Pedestrians have the same rights to get where they want quickly and safely.”
The bill, S-2099, would amend current law to impose a fine of $100 to a driver that does not stop to allow a pedestrian to cross at a marked crosswalk or intersection. The additional $50 would be deposited in the “Pedestrian Safety Enforcement and Education Fund” in the Division of Highway and Traffic Safety.
The Fund would be dedicated toward making grants available to local governments with pedestrian safety problems. Priority would be given to those municipalities and counties requesting funds to fix intersections which have been identified as showing definite safety concerns. The fund is expected to receive and distribute about $44,000 a year.
“No pedestrian should enter a crosswalk concerned that a car will barrel through the intersection,” said Senator Coniglio. “This bill tackles this problem in two ways – it creates an additional deterrent to motorists who might not yield to a pedestrian and it dedicates funds to make the most dangerous intersections safer. When you think that so many pedestrians are our children as they walk to school, it makes it critical that we address this problem.”
The Senate Transportation Committee passed the bill by a vote of 4-0. It now goes to the full Senate for their consideration.