New Jersey Pedestrian Deaths

New Jersey Pedestrian Deaths

Every year, thousands of walker and joggers and people standing along a road waiting for bus, cab, or ride are killed across the country in traffic accidents. This, despite the fact that overall traffic fatalities have decreased. Nationally, pedestrians account for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities.

New Jersey bucked this trend in 2015 when it suffered 562 crash deaths, the highest since 2012, though unrestrained vehicle occupant deaths decreased as did drunk driving deaths. But, speed-related deaths increased from 99 to 128, bicyclist deaths increased from 11 to 18, and unhelmeted motorcyclists’ deaths increased from five to seven. Unfortunately, 2015 ended with more New Jersey pedestrian fatalities than at any point over the prior ten years. In fact, 170 non-occupants were killed that year alone. Every county in the state had at least one fatal pedestrian accident except Warren. Sussex County suffered one fatality, and Hunterdon County and Salem County each suffered two deaths.

Our state must focus more on the needs of pedestrians in urban areas especially. Some safety measures that have an impact on fatality rates include refuge islands, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, sidewalks, and barriers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) writes that pedestrian crosswalk beacons, better timing of intersection signals, and increased lighting can all increase safety, as will reducing speed limits on busy streets.

Crash avoidance technologies installed on newer model vehicles may also reduce the number of roadway deaths, such as the technology that engages the brakes when an impact is imminent. Other safety enhanced technologies include backup cameras that work to prevent backover accidents as well as other types of crashes.

It goes without saying that drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving remain a constant threat, and the only way any state will reach zero preventable deaths is if drivers stay focused on their responsibilities.

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