California Law Enforcement Agencies Prepare For Legal Jaywalking

California Law Enforcement Agencies Prepare For Legal Jaywalking

A new law decriminalizing jaywalking and preventing law enforcement officers from issuing jaywalking tickets for most jaywalking situations will go into law on Jan. 1, with many departments across the state preparing for the law change this week.

Bills attempting to either outlaw or decriminalize jaywalking have been attempted repeatedly since the mid-2010s in California, but have never passed the California legislature or been signed by a Governor. Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom personally signed a veto against a bill decriminalizing jaywalking due to public safety concerns. However, in 2022, a bill was finally passed.

Under Assembly Bill 2147, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), law enforcement officers would be prohibited from issuing pedestrian tickets for pedestrians unless there is an immediate risk of a collision with a moving vehicle or other device moved exclusively by human power. and would make it legal to cross a road when you are not in a crosswalk or against a crosswalk light when there is no immediate danger to do so. AB 2147 would also require the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol to submit a report on statewide pedestrian-related crash data, with a specific note on how pedestrian safety changed.

Assemblyman Ting authored the bill, also known as the Freedom to Walk Act, because of the high costs of fines that jaywalking can bring, unfairly affecting the poorest people. Ting also championed the bill as helping to encourage more people to walk instead of drive for environmental reasons.

“It should not be a criminal offense to cross the road safely,” Assemblyman Ting said of his bill earlier this year. “When expensive tickets and unnecessary confrontations with the police affect only a few communities, it’s time to rethink how we use our law enforcement resources and if our jaywalking laws really protect pedestrians Plus, we need to encourage people to get out from their cars and walk for health and environmental reasons.”

Jaywalking changes forward to 2023

Since AB 2147 had fixed concerns in previous bills, such as allowing law enforcement officers to still issue tickets, Newsom signed the bill in early October, with an official start date of January 1, 2023. Now just days away , law enforcement agencies and departments across the state are preparing for the coming change.

“We’ve helped several departments that have issued a large number of tickets for jaywalking,” Joe Rivas, a Riverside County law enforcement consultant, told the Globe on Wednesday. “It’s not that the new law is difficult to follow, but there is definitely a learning curve involved. Most officers will still say that it is not very safe to pass in many situations because a car in one’s blind spot may come by, or one may misjudge a distance, or one may trip and fall. when passing through a traffic jam.

“And right now, just going through the motions, there will definitely be times when a ticket will be challenged because, in some scenarios, crossing what looks like an empty road can suddenly become very dangerous even with safe drivers. We are preparing people as best we can, but like I said, this law is very loose right now because individual cases are really what will make or break this law. And right now, it looks like it’s about to break. Especially when Californians get comfortable with this law, then go out of state and suddenly get tickets. This is an effect that will definitely happen in the future. That is, the law, but not well thought out. That has been the general consensus.”

The new jaywalking law will go into effect on January 1st.

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