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Rolling stops and the connection to auto-pedestrian accidents

The chances are that if you have driven a vehicle for any amount of time, you have probably engaged in what is known as a rolling stop. Generally, a rolling stop is defined as when a motorist slows down while approaching a traffic signal or stop sign and continues beyond that intersection without actually coming to a full stop.

It's understandable why many people might think that rolling stops are harmless. For example, imagine an intersection in a sparsely populated area of town early on a Sunday morning. The sun is up, it's a clear day with high visibility and there does not appear to be anyone else around. Some people might simply slow down before blowing through that intersection.

However, statistics compiled by the Traffic Safety Coalition, suggest otherwise. The organization says that on top of being illegal, rolling stops are dangerous and can result in death or injury to pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, the TSC estimates that car crashes kill approximately 5,000 non-motorists each year. Numbers taken from a 2009 study found that 24 percent of all auto- pedestrian occurred in intersections. The numbers for pedal-cyclist fatalities at intersections is even greater. In 2008, 33 percent of fatalities involving that mode of travel occurred in intersections.

The biggest hazard of rolling stops to the pedestrian is when those drivers also include a right turn. Although it's uncertain as to why the addition of a right turn after a rolling stop is so dangerous, it's likely that motorists are simply preoccupied with looking to their left for oncoming traffic. It's possible that many motorists executing a rolling stop and turning right simply never see pedestrians leaving the curve and entering crosswalks at intersections.

Regardless of the reasons for the accidents, New Jersey law is clear when it comes to rolling stops. Drivers are required to come to a full stop at any red light or stop sign before proceeding through an intersection. Additionally, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing the street at an unmarked intersection without a crosswalk.

If you are a pedestrian who has been injured due to a driver's negligence you may be entitled to seek recovery for your injuries. An attorney experienced in New Jersey's auto-pedestrian regulations can help you seek compensation through the courts.

Source: Traffic Safety Coalition, "Dangerous Risks of Rolling Stops Highlighted in New Video," accessed July 23, 2015

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