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Pedestrian accidents decline in New Jersey

In Long Beach Island, New Jersey, Street Smart, a safety drive, took place. On that day, police and safety officials staged a demonstration for onlookers that showed how much of a difference just 10 mph can make when it comes to pedestrian accidents. That difference in speed can mean the difference of whether a person can stop before hitting someone or ends up colliding with a pedestrian.

During the program, a driver participating in the program was driving at 25 mph and was able to stop a sedan he was driving in time for a pedestrian to cross safely. At 35 mph, he wasn't able to do so, and a crash test dummy that was used was hit and sailed into the air. It landed around 10 feet away from the car, leaving one sneaker under a tire.

The point of this demonstration was to show that, had this been a real-life situation, the 35-mph crash would have likely caused the person fatal injuries, according to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. This program, which is designed to help people understand the reason for lower speeds in pedestrian-filled areas, has taken place around Newark, Woodbridge, Hackettstown, Jersey City, and Long Beach Island. Long Beach Island has had 13 pedestrian accidents between 2009 and 2012, and one of those accidents was fatal.

The news reports that between 2009 and 2011, New Jersey has had 402 pedestrians who were killed in these accidents. So, this program has been enacted to try to help reduce this number. The NJTPA has said that the demonstrations have a good impact; jaywalking has declined from 24 to 11 percent, and the failure-to-yield-to-pedestrians violations have dropped by 66 percent.

The program can be used in other towns, and there are downloadable booklets and information on the New Jersey Street Smart website. That means that anyone who feels their area could benefit would be able to replicate the demonstration.

Source: App.com, "Street Smart safety drive starts on LBI" Larry Higgs, Jun. 18, 2014

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