Stiffer fine sought to curb rampant jaywalking

Astounded that the fine for jaywalking is $1 and convinced that cutting down on the behavior would increase pedestrian safety, state Senate majority leader Harriette Chandler asked lawmakers Wednesday to increase penalties for errant street-crossing.

“It’s a bad habit we’ve all gotten into. And it’s changing a bad habit. And the best way to change a bad habit is to penalize it in some fashion,” Chandler said in an interview after testifying before the Transportation Committee.

Boston police confirmed that the fine in the city is $1 and citations are not issued or tracked.

The Worcester Democrat said she was motivated to act after pedestrian deaths in Worcester and was surprised to see how little the fine is for crossing the street illegally.


“If you’re only fined a dollar, people will keep doing it over and over again. I couldn’t believe that jaywalking was a dollar fine,” Chandler said.

Chandler’s bill would increase the jaywalking fine to $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $75 for subsequent offenses in a calendar year. Current law, which dates to May 1962, notches up jaywalking fines to $2 for fourth and subsequent offenses committed in a calendar year.