Pedestrian Deaths Continue to be a Problem in New Jersey
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Apr 10, 2017 in Car Accidents News
Like much of the nation, pedestrian traffic deaths in New Jersey continue to be a problem.
A recent Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) study found that pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2016 increased 11 percent nationwide.
Although New Jersey’s pedestrian fatalities declined 7.8 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, the state ranks seventh for the most pedestrian deaths during that period.
Senior Pedestrians Most at Risk
In Bergen County and much of New Jersey, the risk is greatest for elderly pedestrians over the age of 64. This population is generally slow-moving with poor eyesight, brittle bones and declining reflexes, making them most susceptible to being struck by a vehicle and suffering severe injuries.
Earlier this month, two elderly pedestrians were killed while crossing the street in front of a diner near Paterson Plank Road and Kennedy Boulevard. A 57-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman died from injuries sustained in the hit-and-run accident that involved a speeding SUV.
This recent incident highlights the increased risks seniors face while walking. So far this year, 39 pedestrians have been killed in New Jersey, 10 of which involved seniors.
That is also an increase from the 37 deaths that occurred in the state last year, even though the deadliest months of November and December are still a long way off.
Although individuals over the age of 64 make up just 15 percent of the state’s population, seniors are involved in 26 percent of walking accidents – up from 22 percent in 2007.
Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 41 pedestrians were killed every year, which is a 24 percent increase compared to the previous five years when an average of 33 seniors were killed each year. Meanwhile, the average for all pedestrian age groups grew at a slower pace of nine percent.
A Nationwide Epidemic
According to the GHSA study, an estimated 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2016, based on preliminary data from the first half of the year and estimates for the second half based on historical trends.
If the number reaches that estimate, it would be the first year in more than two decades that pedestrian fatalities were more than 6,000.
Pedestrians also represent a growing percentage of total traffic fatalities. In 2006 and 2007, pedestrians comprised of 11 percent of all traffic fatalities. In 2014 and 2015, that number increased to 15 percent, where it is likely to stay for 2016.
The GHSA found that between 2010 and 2015, pedestrian deaths increased 25 percent nationwide, while total traffic fatalities increased by only six percent.
The increase has been attributed to an improved economy and lower gas prices that allow more people to travel more often by car. However, deaths have outpaced increased travel.
Because of this, many attribute the increase to more drivers and pedestrians who are distracted by their cellphones.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
In light of the increasing dangers pedestrians face, safety measures should be taken by all roadway users to prevent accidents.
- Only cross the street at marked intersections, using crosswalks when available
- Walk facing traffic on the shoulder if no sidewalk is available
- Look left, right and left again before crossing a street
- Obey all traffic signals and warnings
- Put away distracting devices
- Remain alert and attentive, always looking for vehicles
- Improve visibility by wearing bright and/or reflective clothing
- Always follow traffic laws and signals
- Come to a complete stop (not just yield) for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk – violators could face a $200 fine and two points on their license
- Put away any distractions
- Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially when turning right on red
- Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk and never block or park in crosswalks
If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident, you could be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The attorneys at Lynch Law Firm will pursue justice for your family, helping you navigate the legal process in the midst of your loss.
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