Gill Legislation To Require Pedestrian Safety Education by MVC Advances

Senator Nia H. Gill on the floor of the Senate

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill to promote pedestrian safety, by requiring driver education courses, examinations and informational brochures distributed by the state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to contain information to educate drivers on safely sharing the road with pedestrians, bicyclists and others, was approved today by the Senate Transportation Committee.

“We have to do more to improve public safety on our roadways and to prevent pedestrian deaths in our state,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex and Passaic). “By promoting education for new drivers, including requiring additional focus on this issue in driver education and on examinations, we can hopefully increase awareness amongst residents and improve compliance with traffic safety laws. Ultimately, our goal is to end these tragedies and save lives.”

According to New Jersey State Police data, there were 603 motor vehicle fatalities during 2016. Of the fatalities, 166 were pedestrians and 17 were pedalcyclists.

The bill (S-2894) would require that the curriculum for approved classroom driver education courses and the informational brochure distributed by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to the parents and guardians of beginning drivers include the following: information concerning operating a motor vehicle in a manner that safely shares the roadway with pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, riders of motorized-scooters, and other non-motorized vehicles. Information on non-motorized vehicles could be, but is not to be limited to, passing a cyclist on the road, recognizing bicycle lanes, navigating intersections with pedestrians and cyclists, and exiting a vehicle without endangering pedestrians and cyclists.

The bill would further require the MVC to include questions about cyclist and pedestrian safety as part of the written examination required to obtain an examination permit, a special learner’s permit, and a basic driver’s license.

The bill would take effect on the first day of the seventh month after enactment.  The committee approved the legislation by a vote of 5-0. It next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.