Trying to keep pedestrians safe is a serious problem in New Jersey. Last year alone, 184 people died in pedestrian-vehicle crashes, according to the New Jersey State Police.
“In some cases, I think to myself if only the person wasn’t texting and walking, if only the person looked both ways before crossing at the corner,” said Hackensack Medical Center trauma surgeon Dr. Saraswati Dayal at the launch of “Street Smart NJ,” a monthlong statewide campaign to improve safety on our streets. Its messages include reminding drivers to stop for pedestrians and obey speed limits; urging pedestrians to use crosswalks and wait for the walk sign; and a key reminder for both pedestrians and drivers alike: “Heads up, phones down.”
“People are distracted. People are not slowing down for pedestrians. We unfortunately in the last few years have had two crossing guards struck by people. One was seriously hurt,” said Thomas Duch, city manager in Garfield, one of 75 cities and towns that are taking part in the campaign.
Garfield Police Chief Raymond Kovac said his department has been planning its part in the campaign for some time. “Tragically though, it comes after our community lost one of our residents in a fatal crash last week,” he said. On September 17, 42-year-old Giovanni Rivera was struck and killed when he was walking along McArthur Avenue.
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