With more people walking, biking and rolling to travel to work and school or carry out day-to-day activities, the number of serious injuries and deaths caused by collisions with vehicles has increased in New Jersey. The New Jersey legislature has responded by passing a new law intended to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.
What is the new law and how does it affect drivers and pedestrians on New Jersey roads?
New Jersey safe passing law
New Jersey’s new safe passing law works similarly to the law that requires drivers to change lanes when they encounter first responders on the road. The law requires drivers to move over one lane when passing a pedestrian or cyclist and maintain at least four feet of space between their car and the person they are passing whenever possible. If drivers can not safely do this, then they must reduce their speed to 25 miles per hour. The law primarily protects cyclists but also applies to pedestrians walking in rural areas that have no sidewalks, skateboarders and people on mobility scooters.
Penalties for not complying with the law
Drivers who violate the law face a $100 fine. The fine increases to $500 and two motor vehicle points when a personal injury results from the driver’s failure to comply.
With pedestrian fatalities on a pace to be 60% higher than in 2020, lawmakers hope the new law will make roads safer. Persons injured by unsafe passing by motorists now have a more concrete rule to cite when seeking damages.