The Impact of Poor Road Design on Pedestrian Accidents in New Jersey

New Jersey, with its bustling urban areas, suburban neighborhoods, and extensive road networks, unfortunately sees its fair share of pedestrian accidents. These incidents not only result in injuries and fatalities but also raise concerns about the safety of pedestrians in the state. In order to address this issue effectively, it is crucial to examine the causes behind these accidents and work towards implementing measures to mitigate the risks.

Disturbing Trends: New Jersey's Pedestrian Fatality Rate

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Garden State is the 19th most dangerous state for pedestrians, totaling 212 pedestrian fatalities in the year 2021. A state-specific attribute to this alarming statistic is the poorly designed roadways that are built to accommodate drivers and neglect the needs of pedestrian travelers. In fact, NJ has the second worst roads in the country, in terms of both design and condition.

Uncovering Hazardous Roads: The Risks of "Stroads"

New Jersey has a very high number of “stroads”, which is a hybrid between a street and a road. You may be thinking, isn’t a street and a road the same thing? Surprisingly, there is a very factual difference. A road is known as a path that connects two points. Typically, they are built to easily transport between two cities or towns. On the other hand, a street is a pathway designed for public transportation, most often designed with houses and buildings on either side of it. Stroads are dangerous because they often lack features that are designed to keep pedestrians safe, such as sidewalks, cross walks, and adequate lighting. A report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that over 40% of pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents occur on these hybrid street-roads.

Disadvantaged Communities: Increased Vulnerability

These hazards become significantly more pronounced in low-income areas due to the abundance of large arterial roads which are designed for high-speed travel. On top of this, residents of low income areas are more likely to rely on walking due to the high costs of having and maintaining a vehicle. There are several risk factors that come into play when walking to run errands, get to work etc. They are likely to find themselves walking along high-speed and high-traffic roadways, which increases their vulnerability of being struck. As previously mentioned, these roads are likely to lack any up to par safety features to protect pedestrians. If there are sidewalks, it is possible that they are in poor condition and pose a more prominent safety risk for walkers.

Legal Consequences: Accountability for Motorists

In the state of New Jersey, motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians or other motor vehicles that are stopped for pedestrians are subject to many different types of legal repercussions. Upon conviction of violating this law, an offender can immediately acquire two points on their license, face a 200$ fine and have to serve up to 15 hours of community service. And this does not even account for legal fees. If you just so happen to hit a pedestrian and injure them, the consequences become much more extreme depending on how badly the pedestrian is injured.

Building a Safer Future: Strategies for Improvement

Addressing the causes of pedestrian accidents in New Jersey requires a multifaceted approach involving legislative measures, law enforcement, public awareness campaigns, and most importantly, improvements to infrastructure. By understanding the underlying factors contributing to these accidents, the state can develop targeted strategies to create safer road environments for pedestrians and reduce the frequency of tragic incidents.

Take Action Now

If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident due to poor road design or negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. The Harrell Law Firm is here to support you through these challenging times. Our experienced team specializes in personal injury cases, offering compassionate advocacy and aggressive representation to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyers today for a free consultation and take the first step towards justice and recovery.

Leigh A. Raffauf

Leigh A. Raffauf

Partner, Harrell Injury Law

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