Curbing Pedestrian Accidents in New Jersey

In 2017, 187 pedestrians were fatally injured in the state of New Jersey. This is the highest number of fatal pedestrian accidents since 1993, nearly 25 years ago. A new technology, the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, has been introduced at a fatal crash site on River Road in Teaneck, New Jersey. The Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon has proven effective in reducing the number of pedestrian fatalities nationwide. Now, many have high hopes that it can save lives in New Jersey.

According to studies conducted by the United States Department of Transportation, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHB), also known as HAWKs, reduce fatalities. These studies have shown that their presence in Arizona and Florida have reduced accidents by nearly 70 percent.

How Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons Work

PHBs have push buttons that instantly activate flashing lights so that motorists can see them. Overhead beacons have lost their effectiveness because motorists have become too accustomed to them. Because these push-button lights flash as soon as the pedestrian pushes the button, they are considered one of the most important changes for pedestrian safety in recent years.

Currently, only three other crosswalks in the entire state of New Jersey feature these PHBs. This remains true even though the state Department of Transportation has recommended their use for years. One of the reasons may be due to their cost. PHB installations cost approximately $10,000 each, but this is a small price to pay if the investment saves a single life. They are also authorized by the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for areas with a lot of traffic, and relatively high-speed limits.

USDOT Recommendations

The USDOT recommends that PHBs be placed in areas in which people cross mid-block and where gaps in traffic patterns are not large enough for people to safety dart between. Where one of the three New Jersey PHBs were recently placed in Teaneck, two individuals were fatally injured between 2014 and 2016. The area is a good fit for the PHBs, since there are common mid-block pedestrian crossings.

The USDOT emphasizes that there is no substitute for public education about pedestrian safety, as well as outreach efforts. The State of New Jersey will be providing a one-day training session for engineers and city planners statewide this spring to educate them about the benefits of PHBs and where they can best be used.

New Jersey Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent People Injured in Pedestrian Accidents

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or have lost a loved one, you can turn to us to handle your legal issues so that you can focus on moving forward with your life. To learn more about how we can help, contact the experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyers at the Law offices of Harold J. Gerr today by calling 732-249-4600, or by completing our online contact form. Our offices are locted in Highland Park, New Jersey and we serve clients in Middlesex County, including the communities of Highland Park, Somerset, New Brunswick, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, andColonia, New Jersey.