Stop Here! New Laws for Drivers in Virginia

Brittany Harlow By: Brittany Harlow

With the start of July, we are officially halfway through 2020!  A lot has changed in the past few months, including a flurry of new laws that have officially gone into effect in Virginia.  It is important to keep up to date with these new laws for your safety and for the safety of those around you.  These new laws make it safer for pedestrians to cross the road.

Effective July 1st, drivers must stop, and remain stopped, for pedestrians crossing a roadway.  The new law requires that vehicle operators are now required to stop instead of yield when (1) pedestrians are crossing in any lane of a clearly marked crosswalk, (2) at any unmarked pedestrian crossing area at an intersection, or (3) at any intersection where the speed limit is under 35 miles per hour.  The law also prohibits the driver of another vehicle to pass or overtake a vehicle that is stopped for a pedestrian.  Learn more about the bill here.
The second new law requires drivers to remain stopped until the “vulnerable road users” – pedestrians walking, using a wheelchair, bike, scooter, skateboard or other means of transportation – completely pass the lane the driver is in.  Under this law, drivers also cannot use a bike lane on the right side of the road to pass or attempt to pass a stopped vehicle.  A person who operates a vehicle in any careless or distracted manner and who seriously injures a vulnerable road user could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.  Learn more about the bill here.
Always be on the lookout while operating a vehicle for pedestrians near the roadway, walking on sidewalks, or crossing at an intersection and bicyclists riding in bike lanes or on the road.  Put the phone down, don’t mess with the radio, and always be aware of your surroundings in order to prevent traffic crashes that could lead to death or serious injuries.
Visit the Vision Zero Network to learn more about how you can help to prevent and eliminate traffic fatalities or severe injuries while also increasing and promoting safe mobility for all.