As the weather warms and summer approaches, more and more people will take to New Jersey roadways on foot, especially in towns close to the shoreline. Many will walk instead of drive to their destination for health benefits, some for global sustainability, and others to avoid driving drunk after partying at their favorite shore bar. What most pedestrians don’t realize is that they may lose their life when they choose to walk along major New Jersey roads and highways.
New Jersey is ranked fifth in the country for pedestrian fatalities. Over 600 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey roadways in the three year period from 2010 through 2013. Seventy-one of those killed were walking along highways and roadways at various New Jersey shore towns. While a large number of these deaths involved drugs or alcohol, most are attributed to a lack of sidewalks and poor lighting along the roads. Fatal pedestrian accidents occurred most often while victims were walking along the shoulder of the roadway.
Twenty-seven percent of pedestrians killed on New Jersey roadways had drugs and/or alcohol in their systems, making it the 12th highest state in the nation. Forty-eight percent of Delaware’s pedestrian deaths involved alcohol or drugs making it the top ranked state in the U.S. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the increase in fatal pedestrian accidents involving drugs or alcohol can be contributed to people opting not to drive after they have been partying. Though this is a step in the right direction in solving the drunk driving fatality rate, experts urge people to consider safe alternatives to walking or cycling home.
Lighting plays a significant role in pedestrian safety, but is not normally included in accident reports involving pedestrian deaths. Data from the DOT indicates that lighting could very well play a part in pedestrian safety with 52 of the 71 pedestrian deaths that occurred in various New Jersey shore towns from 2010 through 2013 happening between dusk and dawn. Only 19 of those deaths happened in the daytime.
Risk Factors for Pedestrians
While sidewalks and proper lighting may help avoid pedestrian fatalities, there are other issues that should also be considered. According to research conducted at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, using the shoulder lane to pass another car on the right of can put pedestrians walking in the road at great risk. Sidewalks can help protect these individuals, but ticketing this behavior and enforcing laws against it will be much more effective in reducing pedestrian accidents.
New Jersey laws are in place that protect pedestrians crossing the street, but are also poorly enforced. The “Stop and Stay Stopped” laws require drivers to yield to pedestrians walking in designated crosswalks. While some drivers adhere to the law, some are either unaware of the law, or choose to ignore the law which puts pedestrians at risk. Poorly designed crosswalks also impede pedestrian safety. When a pedestrian is faced with walking the equivalent of a quarter mile to get to a crosswalk, many will cross illegally, often getting hit by cars while doing so.
While pedestrian accidents and fatalities will happen even with safety laws and good conditions, there are some areas in New Jersey where accidents tend to occur with more frequency than others. In the time span between 2010 and 2013, ten pedestrians were killed in Toms River, nine in Lakewood, eight in Middletown, and seven in Brick Township.
Cherry Hill Personal Injury Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Claim Compensation for Pedestrians Injured or Killed
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a New Jersey pedestrian or bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the dedicated and experienced team of Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers at DiTomaso Law at 1-866-FOR LESS or complete our online contact form to schedule your consultation today. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey and Philadelphia including those in Mount Holly, Burlington County and Cherry Hill, Camden County.