New Jersey Pedestrian Safety

New Jersey is right around the middle of the pack when it comes to pedestrian safety, a new report by the infrastructure advocate Transportation of America recently found. It ranked all of the states according to fatality statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Census data regarding how many people walk to work.

The report ranked New Jersey as the 21st most dangerous place in the nation to walk on its roads. However, it is the eighth highest in senior-citizen pedestrian death rates. The report also noted that Hispanic and African-American pedestrians have a higher risk of injury and death while walking on New Jersey roads.

So-called "arterial" roads, which are roads with multiple lanes, a high speed limit and no sidewalks or other pedestrian safety facilities are the most dangerous. Arterial roads are generally found in rural and suburban areas.

New Roads, New Law

The report commended New Jersey as one of 25 states that have a "complete streets" policy. This program focuses on pedestrian safety when rebuilding old roads. Since 2007, New Jersey has done 243 pedestrian safety projects for a total $14.5 million.

In addition to planning new roads with pedestrians in mind, in 2010 a new law came into effect that forces vehicles to stop for a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk. Previously, drivers were expected to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, but did not have to completely stop until the pedestrian was across the road. The law also directs drivers to yield to pedestrians crossing at an intersection even if there is no marked crosswalk.

A failure to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk is now penalized by:

  • A $200 fine
  • A 2 point license penalty
  • Fifteen days of community service

Injured? Contact an Attorney

Between 2000 and 2009, a little over 20 percent of all traffic accidents involved pedestrians. Unfortunately, because of the nature of these accidents, they can often lead to fatalities and catastrophic injuries. Since 2000, over 1,500 pedestrians have died in New Jersey alone. If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver's negligence, such as failing to stop at a crosswalk, contact an attorney. A lawyer can help you through an extraordinarily difficult time by obtaining compensation for medical expenses and wage loss, or file a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one.