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New 2018 laws set standard for pedestrians

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CHICO, Calif. - It's a law many are likely already following, but law makers want to provide a clear standard for pedestrians and those driving by them. 

In 2012, pedestrian deaths rose to their highest level since 2006 to a total of 4,743 nationwide. Because of alarming statistics like this, state legislatures have been toughening up on laws to keep pedestrians safe.

One of those include a new law while crossing the street, even in a marked crosswalk.

Effective in 2018, AB 390 states a pedestrian can begin crossing an intersection while facing the flashing hand if the traffic signal includes a timer that has enough time for the pedestrian to walk clear to the other side.

Once that traffic signal changes from a flashing hand to a steady one, pedestrians can no longer cross until the walking sign replaces it.

Annemarie Parrelli Peters said it's good the new law puts this into writing for California because she comes from New York where crossing is encouraged whenever the coast is clear.

"In New York, when it's clear, you go," Peters explained. "Because there's so many people you have to just go, you just go. So I actually recently, within the last few months, got a ticket in the crosswalk, walking across the street, because apparently the hand was up."

Pedestrians who don't have enough time to fully cross the street in the time that's allotted on the timer will have to wait until the light changes again.

Drivers must always yield to pedestrians crossing the roadway in any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, taking any action necessary to ensure pedestrian safety.

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