The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority has just kicked off the 2017 edition of Street Smart NJ, a campaign dedicated to raising the awareness of motorist and pedestrian laws in New Jersey to help curb pedestrian accidents over the busy summer season, as covered by the official website of New Jersey 101.5.
The summer start of the campaign across several Jersey Shore communities was held on June 28, with pedestrian safety advocate Joel Feldman in attendance. Feldman lost his 21-year-old daughter Casey in 2009, when she was hit and killed by a distracted driver while on an Ocean City crosswalk. The driver in that case was trying to place a drink in his cup holder and accelerated into an intersection without looking, striking the young college student.
According to Feldman, when people see a person stumbling out of bar with car keys, the keys get taken away. The way to solve the problem of distracted driving is to make it just as socially unacceptable as driving drunk. He now appears at businesses and schools across the country to reinforce the true dangers distracted driving poses.
Street Smart NJ urges pedestrians and drivers to “check vital signs” when on roads, and media associated with it will be displayed at bus terminals, train stations and buses that travel the coastline. Coasters and cup sleeves are being marked in stores and bars to get the message out, and real estate agents, police and volunteers will be handing out reminder cards to the driving, riding and walking public. Pedestrians are urged to wait for “WALK” signals and use crosswalks, while drivers are being reminded to stop for pedestrians and obey all speed limits. Heads up and phones down is recommended for both groups as cell phones continue to be a part of many distracted driving accidents across the country.
The campaign was started in 2013 in just five sites. After the 2016 campaign, safety groups discovered a 40 percent drop in drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in areas where the messages were distributed.
As part of this year’s kickoff, there was also a demonstration of the recently installed high-intensity activated crosswalk at the busy intersection of 25th Street and Long Beach Boulevard. The new signal is able to connect wirelessly with other intersection lights and also provides pedestrian voice commands.
According to Jack Casella, Surf City Police Chief, the city is instituting a zero-tolerance policy for distracted driving over the summer, and officers will be strongly enforcing a rule that bans parking within 25 feet of any intersection. Between 2011 and 2015, the city had five car-bicycle and car-pedestrian accidents, but that number jumps to over 30 when all of Long Beach Island is added in. Over that same period, 22,000 pedestrians were injured and 765 died in auto-related crashes throughout New Jersey, according to the state’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
Distracted driving remains a dangerous trend nationwide. If you have been in an accident caused by a distracted driver, speak to an experienced car accident lawyer Denver CO trusts.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into pedestrian accidents.