Pedestrian Deaths Prompt NYC Police to Enforce Jaywalking Law

In response to the deaths of at least a dozen pedestrians so far this year, New York City police officers have begun enforcing jaywalking laws. This also comes on the heels of a reported 172 pedestrian deaths in NYC traffic accidents in 2013.

Jaywalking fines in New York City are set by local courts, so they tend to vary across jurisdictions. In some areas of the city, jaywalking fines are just $40. However, there have been reports that on the Upper West Side of New York City, jaywalking fines are as high as $250.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious “Vision Zero” plan, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities within the next 10 years, has gotten off to a rocky start. The new mayor recently referred to the rash of pedestrian deaths as “an epidemic” that needs to be stopped.

The most frequent violators of the jaywalking law are NYC locals, who often grow impatient waiting for lights to change to green at intersections that they walk past every day. Authorities recognize that these locals will be reluctant to change daily habits, so they remain sensitive to the needs of the more than eight million people who occupy the crowded city streets. To that end, the Vision Zero plan focuses on drivers, not pedestrians, with particular attention being paid to overly aggressive driving and redesigning dangerous intersections in the city. In fact, the NYC police initiative to strictly enforce jaywalking laws is not a part of the Vision Zero plan.

The focus on pedestrians by local police departments has been met with criticism from traffic safety organizations who, like the NYC mayor, believe that traffic fatalities are caused primarily by hasty and dangerous driving. Nonetheless, NYC police are now actively enforcing the city’s jaywalking rule. During the first three weeks of the year, New York City police officers issued 65 summonses for jaywalking. This is in stark contrast to the same time period last year, during which just 12 jaywalking summonses were issued.

If you’ve been ticketed for jaywalking or if you’ve received a traffic ticket in New York City, contact the experienced traffic defense lawyers at the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC.  Call 866-642-3807 for a free consultation about your case.