According to the Department of Law and Public Safety, pedestrian deaths in New Jersey numbered 170 in 2014, more than 30 percent of all traffic deaths in the state. Those statistics put New Jersey well ahead of the national average of 14 percent.
The Centers for Disease Control states that older adults, children and non-English speaking pedestrians are at particular risk of being hit by a negligent driver. In response to the high number of incidents, New Jersey has developed a three-part plan to combat the fatality and injury rate for these groups and the greater community. The components include:
- Education: Involves making the public aware of the problem, particularly as it relates to the most vulnerable member of the community
- Enforcement: Implements a strategy to stop errant drivers at the scene, with law enforcement patrols at locations with the highest concentration of pedestrians
- Engineering: Enhanced crosswalk design, improved signage and innovative technology, to better distinguish pedestrian areas
Pedestrians frequently suffer catastrophic injuries when hit by a distracted driver who turns right without looking at a red light, fails to stop before a marked crosswalk, fails to give the pedestrian the right of way, or overtakes another car that is stopped for a pedestrian.
Speeding is another major safety issue. The AAA Foundation reports that 79 percent of people hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph sustain serious injury, while 45 percent of pedestrians die after being struck. New Jersey officials look to increased public awareness and stricter law enforcement to reduce the number of deaths and injuries for people on foot.