California’s New Jaywalking Law

A new law in 2023 promises to leave pedestrians more time to pay attention to traffic and less time worrying about if they’ll get a ticket. A new jaywalking law makes it much less likely for those on foot to be cited for jaywalking.

This is good news for people who walk and run through Ventura County and Southern California neighborhoods. Not every street is optimized for foot traffic and sometimes pedestrians have to break the law just to get where they’re going. Yet, it’s still important that pedestrians maintain a safe distance from all traffic and cross every street safely.

Less Jaywalking Tickets in Southern California in 2023

The new guidelines for law enforcement in 2023 feature a softening of jaywalking laws. The “Freedom to Walk Act,” makes it harder for pedestrians to be targeted with tickets for crossing the street.

Basically, police officers in Southern California and across the state aren’t allowed to issue jaywalking citations unless someone walking puts themselves in immediate danger of getting hit.

Jaywalking is defined in California’s Vehicle Code 21955:

“Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk.”

AB 2147 passed in 2022 took effect on January 1st, 2023. This is the important part for potential jaywalkers:

“This bill would prohibit a peace officer, as defined, from stopping a pedestrian for specified traffic infractions unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power.”

With the new code in place, in most cases, police officers would not have the authority to stop someone crossing the street outside of a crosswalk.

Penalties for Southern California Jaywalking

When those on foot look to cross the street outside of a crosswalk they are still expected to yield to cars and only cross when it’s safe to do so.

If officers do find grounds to charge a pedestrian with jaywalking under the new law, the old penalties would apply. Jaywalking is a criminal act and suspects are hit with an infraction. They could have to cover a fine of around $200. A jaywalking ticket does not result in points added to the suspect’s DMV record.

Duty of Care for Motorists Traveling Near Pedestrians

Pedestrian safety should be on more people’s minds the next time they leave the house. Pedestrians travel without the protection of seatbelts, airbags, and metal walls (like car occupants). A hit from a car, SUV, or truck is rarely a minor incident for someone on foot.

This vulnerability is why drivers in Southern California are held to a strict legal standard when driving anywhere a pedestrian might be. They must constantly monitor for any pedestrians and slow down if they spot one. They must slow down enough to make a collision impossible. This is true along Highway 1 as beachgoers travel across the highway. It’s true downtown where shoppers may be crossing mid-street.

In fact, a driver who hits a pedestrian who may have been breaking the law by jaywalking can still be held liable for injuries and full recovery costs.

Contact a Southern California Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Jaywalking can be dangerous on certain streets, but the biggest threat to pedestrians will always be the careless drivers who continue to ignore those traveling on foot. If you or a loved one become the victim of a reckless driver, discuss your options with a skilled California pedestrian accident lawyer serving Ventura County and all of Southern California.

Contact the Lawyers at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC for a confidential and free consultation and case analysis. We want to learn more about how an injury or the loss of a loved one has impacted your life. If you retain us to represent you for your pedestrian accident claim, you won’t need any money right now. We don’t get paid unless we win your case for your family.