New Jersey’s Streets and Sidewalks More Deadly in 2006
Traffic deaths in New Jersey rose again last year to their highest point since 2002. 770 people died in traffic crashes in New Jersey in 2006, up more than 3 percent from 2005. Pedestrian fatalities increased even more significantly, to 168 in 2006 from 156 the previous year, a jump of nearly 8 percent.
“Last year Governor Corzine committed to reducing pedestrian deaths, but so far we’re not seeing a payoff,” said Damien Newton, NJ Coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Better enforcement of traffic laws and more safely designed roads, streets and sidewalks are the only solutions to this growing crisis.”
Last August, Governor Corzine announced a renewed effort to combat pedestrian injuries and fatalities in the state. He said the program would fund intersection and street reconstruction to improve pedestrian environments, and launch up-to-date state police tracking of areas where pedestrians are hit by cars, and stronger enforcement of traffic laws and public education of both drivers and pedestrians.
The governor announced the infrastructure aspect of the program would be about $15 million a year for five years. The first project was slated for the Market and Ferry Street intersections by Penn Station in Newark. Funding would also be provided for “safe routes to schools” and “safe routes to transit” efforts.
Enforcement of existing driver safety laws should also be a priority. Nearly 60% of all traffic fatalities in New Jersey are caused, at least in part, by speeding and reckless driving according to a Tri-State analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
New Jersey’s pedestrian fatality toll has remained consistently high since former Governor Christine Whitman promised to reduce pedestrian deaths by 50% by 2010.
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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is an independent, non-profit policy and advocacy group promoting environment-friendly transportation policies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.