New Jersey is the 19th deadliest state for pedestrians, new report finds
Walking in New Jersey is getting deadlier.
A new report ranks the Garden State as the 19th deadliest state in the nation for pedestrians in 2020. And with 220 pedestrians killed, last year was the deadliest since 1989, state police say Data. Another 23 cyclists, 373 drivers and 84 passengers were also killed on New Jersey roads last year.
The alarming numbers for 2020 came as more people walked during the pandemic, even as car driving declined, according to the annual report of Smart Growth America, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Pedestrian fatalities are expected to break records again in 2021, the report says. Federal data for 2021 has not been released.
Peter Kasabach, executive director of the New Jersey Future planning group, said in a statement that reducing car trips and designing safer roads will save lives.
“Fostering safer street design will encourage people to consider multi-modal, low-emission transportation options by making walking, biking and scooter travel more inviting for New Jerseyans,” Kasabach said.
Continuing rise in deaths prompts two Middlesex County lawmakers to push for a Vision Zero task force to study road safety, with a focus on access, equity and mobility for all road users – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians – and the goal of achieving zero fatalities and road injuries.
Senator Pat Diegnan and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, both Democrats, said in a joint statement that, with New Jersey being one of the most densely populated states and one of the busiest, “reducing accidents must be a top priority” for residents and visitors.
Their bill would create a 21-member task force to advise the governor, legislature and state transportation officials on how to minimize road deaths, with a goal of zero by 2035.
The legislation (S2885), introduced in both chambers in June, has not been posted for a committee vote. Lawmakers are on a summer holidays after passing the $50.6 billion budget last month.
At least two cities in New Jersey have local Vision Zero policies. Hoboken officials say they have gone four years without a pedestrian fatality, which Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation cited in a proposal to reduce road deaths nationwide. In Jersey City, the first city in New Jersey to adopt the strategy, road deaths are down 40% from 2021, Mayor Steve Fulop said on Twitter.
As of July 12, there have been 340 fatal crashes in New Jersey, according to the national police. At the same time last year, 292 fatal accidents were reported.
The Vision Zero program was implemented in New York CitySeattle, Boston, Washington DC and European counties.