When most people think about getting some sort of traffic ticket, I think it'd be fair to assume most of the time you're thinking about some kind of ticket you'd get in your car. Whether it's a speeding ticket, running a stop sign, or rolling through a red light when you're making a right turn. There are tons of traffic citations you could receive while operating a motor vehicle. What about receiving a citation while you're on foot?

This is something you've probably done in your life and I've surely done this too. I've crossed a street outside of a crosswalk when cars weren't coming just to save myself a few seconds. I've never crossed the street and had it result in any type of accident before but can you really get a citation for doing this? What exactly is jaywalking and is it really illegal in the state of Iowa?

Unsplash - Brooke Cagle
Unsplash - Brooke Cagle

What Is Jay Walking?

Before we find out if you can actually receive a fine for jaywalking, we should probably learn what it is first. According to the Dictionary, jaywalking is defined as "crossing a street at a place other than a regular crossing or in a heedless manner, as diagonally or against a traffic light."

Basically, if there's a crosswalk present and you cross the street in a different area, you're technically jaywalking. You would also be considered jaywalking if you cross the street at a red light or if you do not yield to oncoming traffic. While this can be a pretty harmless act, it is possible that jaywalking can become pretty dangerous.

According to Traffic Safety, 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year due to traffic accidents. It's not always the pedestrian's fault in these scenarios but jaywalking can increase your risk of being hit by a vehicle.

Iowa Code 321.328

Jaywalking is very real in the state of Iowa and it is definitely something you could receive a citation for. According to Legis Iowa, code 321.328 says,

Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway except that cities may restrict such a crossing by ordinance. Where traffic-control signals are in operation at any place not an intersection pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

If you are caught jaywalking, you could receive a small misdemeanor and a fine that could reach up to $100.

Is jaywalking something that is heavily enforced? I would lean towards...not really. But just because it is not heavily enforced, doesn't mean it's not dangerous. 100 times out of 100, it's better to be safe than sorry. You should always cross the street where you're supposed to and when you're supposed to. Not only will you save a few bucks but there's a lot better chance that you could save your own life.

Be smart and stay safe on the roadways!

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