The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has included Street Smart NJ among a list of state efforts improving pedestrian safety. The news release was issued today, ahead of National Pedestrian Safety Month, which begins on Friday.
“The spike in pedestrian fatalities in recent years is unacceptable,” GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said in the release. “Nobody should have to worry about dying while walking. Vehicles are safer than ever for occupants thanks to design changes and new safety features, but the same can’t be said for people on foot. We must do more to address the safety of our most vulnerable road users by stopping the preventable causes of crashes – speeding, impairment and distraction – that needlessly put lives at risk.”
Although there has been a dramatic drop in miles driven during the pandemic, GHSA notes that pedestrian fatalities continue to rise. The association notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that 8,730 people were killed on U.S. roadways in the first quarter of 2021, a 10.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
The news release highlights the efforts of State Highway Safety Offices and their partners to change the behaviors that contribute to crashes. The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority works closely with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the state’s transportation management organizations, local law enforcement and other partners to conduct Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety campaigns throughout the state. An extra emphasis is placed on engaging communities with high crash and fatality rates, particularly those with large environmental justice populations.
GHSA mentions the campaign assessments, which look at driver and pedestrian behavior before and after Street Smart NJ campaigns are conducted, as evidence the initiative is “sparking positive change” in the behaviors that contribute to fatal pedestrian crashes and also helping raise greater awareness of pedestrian-related safety laws.