TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Ellen Karcher and Fred Madden which would require all vehicles to come to a complete stop at a stop sign before proceeding through the intersection was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 35-2.
“So many drivers, including even some of my colleagues in the Senate, thought a stop sign always means stop,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “Under current statute, however, that’s only the case most of the time. Through this bill, we’re ensuring that drivers exert proper precaution at stop intersections, and come to a complete stop at the sign before proceeding through.”
The bill, S-1244, would amend current law, repealing a provision that allows drivers to proceed through a stop intersection without stopping at the sign if they were in line with another vehicle which had already come to a complete stop. According to State statistics, last year in New Jersey, the Department of Transportation reported 758 traffic deaths and 156 pedestrian deaths — a figure that could be reduced if drivers faithfully observed stop signals.
“New Jersey is a commuter state, and we need laws on the books that promote driver safety,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Allowing drivers to proceed through stop intersections without coming to a complete stop at the sign is dangerous, especially since a majority of the driving population isn’t even aware of this provision under current law. By clarifying the need for precautions at stop signs, hopefully we will be able to do more to prevent largely preventable traffic fatalities in New Jersey.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee for consideration.