Q: Gov. Gavin Newsom has legalized jaywalking in many cases. In light of the change in this law, Carl Taylor asked, what happens to a driver who hits someone that ran out across the street? “Are we liable for their injuries?” he asked.
A: A new law taking effect Jan. 1 decriminalizes jaywalking in California, as long as there’s no danger of colliding with a vehicle. On Sept. 30, Newsom signed a bill allowing Californians to legally cross the street outside of designated intersections and crosswalks without being ticketed for jaywalking unless a reasonably careful person realizes there’s an immediate danger of colliding with a moving vehicle. So, if you can safely cross in the middle of the road and no vehicles are coming that could hit you, jaywalking is legal as of New Year’s Day.
Greg Matthews, a detective with the Riverside Police Department Traffic Unit, said this new law doesn’t change the responsibility of drivers and pedestrians in the roadway. Vehicle Code section 21954(a) states that, “Every pedestrian… shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon a roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” In other words, Matthews said, “The law recognizes that a driver can’t stop a 5,000 pound vehicle if a pedestrian suddenly steps out in front of them when they’re only a short distance away – the laws of California acknowledge the laws of physics.” On the other hand, 21954(b) states the code, “Shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care of the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.”
Matthews said drivers have a responsibility to avoid colliding with all pedestrians regardless of where they choose to cross, just as pedestrians have the responsibility to not place themselves in danger.
Unfortunately, drivers generally expect pedestrians to cross at intersections and are not always “on alert” for pedestrians crossing midblock.
“This new law has placed more responsibility on the pedestrian to make sure, when crossing midblock, that there are no vehicles so close that they cannot reasonably be expected to stop. It will be interesting to see over the next few years if this new law results in more pedestrian-related collisions,” Matthews said.
Q: Diane Goyal of Temecula said she currently has a Real ID driver’s license and would like to renew it. She asked if she has to do anything special to renew the Real ID.
A: We asked the Department of Motor Vehicles about this and the answer is no, there’s nothing extra that needs to be done. Drivers who already have their Real ID just need to go and renew their Real ID license as usual. “All forms are verified when the initial REAL ID is obtained,” said DMV spokesman Chris Orrock.
By the way, ICYMI: the deadline to get your Real ID was recently extended from May 3, 2023, to May 7, 2025. That’s when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other form of federally approved identification, like a REAL ID driver’s license, military ID card or ID card, to board domestic flights and enter secure federal facilities like federal courthouses and military bases. Officials said they extended the deadline for another two years due to backlogs in state agencies that issue driver’s licenses because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Comments are closed.