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  Director's Message I Message Archive I Biography

Director's Message

August/September 2009

HTS Director Pam Fischer Pam Fischer
  Pedestrian Safety

Thank you for visiting the Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s website. Charged with ensuring the safety of all who use our roadways, the Division sponsors comprehensive public education and awareness campaigns, as well as law enforcement initiatives to address a broad array of traffic safety issues.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, motorists often find themselves sharing the road not only with more vehicles, but more pedestrians, too. While walking is a great activity, particularly during the warm weather months, it can also be dangerous.

Each year in New Jersey, dozens of pedestrians are killed in traffic-related crashes. Sadly, so far in 2009, the number of pedestrians who have lost their lives in our state is up nearly 40 percent over last year. To ensure the safety of everyone who uses our roads, both motorists and pedestrians must be alert for each other at all times and take personal responsibility for their actions.

For pedestrians, that means adhering to these simple, but important safety rules:

  • • Wear bright-colored, reflectorized clothing, especially at night.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths and always cross at the corner, within marked crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and make eye contact with motorists.
  • Never cross mid-block, between parked cars or by climbing over median barriers.
  • Look left, then right and left again before crossing, and always be on the look-out for turning vehicles.
  • Continue to look for vehicles while crossing, even when in marked crosswalks.
  • Learn the proper use of “walk/don’t walk” signals and obey them.
  • Walk and cross with others, when possible.
  • Try not to walk at night or in bad weather, such as rain, snow or ice.
  • If you drink alcohol, have someone escort you to your front door.

Motorists must also do their part by always yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Violators face a $100 fine, plus court costs and fees, and two points on their driving record. When you’re behind the wheel and approaching an intersection, slow down and be on the look out for both children and adults who may unexpectedly appear in your path. And bear in mind that once you park and exit your vehicle, you become a pedestrian, so do your part to remain safe, too.

To further educate motorists about pedestrian safety and the related laws, the Division is awarding grants to municipalities in the central and southern regions of the state this summer for an innovative effort called “Cops in Crosswalks.” Through this initiative, undercover police officers, posing as pedestrians, are placed at locations in participating communities. Motorists who fail to yield to undercover officers crossing the street are being stopped and either warned or ticketed by uniformed officers a short distance away.

Let’s make sure that this summer each of us does our part to keep everyone – regardless of his or her mode of transportation -- safe both on and off the road. By working together, we can save lives.

Additional information on pedestrian safety, as well as a wide array of traffic safety programs, is available on the Division’s web site. Be sure to visit often, since new information is posted regularly. Feel free to download our educational materials, as well. Enjoy the remainder of the summer.

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