Metro

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.

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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.

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“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.