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Is Jaywalking Legal in Connecticut?

February 19, 2024Articles

When an average 4,000-pound vehicle collides with a vulnerable pedestrian, the injuries to the pedestrian are often severe or catastrophic, if not fatal. Motorists always have to be alert to the presence of individuals walking on the roadway and strictly adhere to right-of-way laws for pedestrians in crosswalks. Ultimately, a driver should always do their utmost to protect pedestrians from harm, even if the pedestrian crosses somewhere other than a crosswalk, but can pedestrians share fault for a collision with a vehicle? What if they were jaywalking?

What is jaywalking and is it illegal in Connecticut?

What Is Jaywalking in Connecticut?

The term “jaywalking” is widely understood to refer to a pedestrian crossing the street in a location that is not a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk. An unmarked crosswalk is the curb or corner of any intersection, or between the end of a section of sidewalk on one side of an intersection and the beginning of the sidewalk on the other side. The term “jaywalking” has been in popular use since the early 1900s when it appeared in a Kansas newspaper. Now, many states have laws against jaywalking, making the practice of crossing the street outside of a crosswalk a traffic offense.

Connecticut is a state that doesn’t allow pedestrians to freely practice jaywalking. Drivers typically slow down when approaching a crosswalk but may not when a pedestrian approaches a section of roadway without a marked or unmarked crosswalk, putting the pedestrian at an increased risk of serious injury.

What Are Connecticut’s Laws Against Jaywalking?

Connecticut has pedestrian crossing laws that don’t specifically use the term “jaywalking” but clearly make the practice a traffic infraction. Connecticut’s jaywalking laws include the following:


  • Pedestrians may not cross an intersection diagonally unless directed to do so by a police officer
  • Pedestrians may not abruptly enter a crosswalk when vehicles are already in the intersection or approaching the intersection too swiftly to stop

Connecticut has also added a law in October of 2021 allowing pedestrians to signal to approaching traffic their intention to cross a crosswalk by raising their arms or a cane before entering the crosswalk.

Is Jaywalking in Connecticut Proof of Negligence?

Not only is jaywalking a traffic infraction with fines of up to $50.00, but an injured pedestrian may have difficulty recovering full compensation for their losses if they were hit by a car while jaywalking. If a pedestrian doesn’t act in a way that a reasonable person would in the same circumstances, it’s an act of negligence. Connecticut’s comparative negligence insurance laws reduce the amount of recoverable damages by an injury victim’s percentage of fault. If the injury victim is more than 50% at fault for the accident they cannot recover compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

What to Do If You’re Hit By a Driver While Crossing the Road?

Some pedestrian accidents are so serious that the injured victim is unconscious or unable to move safely. However, if you’ve been hit by a car while crossing a roadway, using your phone to document evidence can help your claim for damages later. First, call 911 to report the accident and request emergency services. Then, use the cell phone’s camera to snap pictures of the accident scene to show that you were in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Take photos of any damage to the vehicle and your visible injuries.

If you were in a pedestrian accident while jaywalking, you may still be able to recover a portion of your damages if the driver was speeding, intoxicated, or otherwise contributed to the accident through negligence.