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news release

RELEASE: October XX, 2001

Motorists To: “Put The Brakes On Fatalities”

New Safety Awareness Campaign Announced

The New Jersey Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and the American Automobile Association's New Jersey chapter, today launched a new, statewide public education campaign aimed at all users of the roadway and the role they can play in reducing needless injuries, crashes and deaths.

Utilizing billboards, bus posters and movie theater announcements, the federally funded campaign emphasizes the difference individual actions can make in creating safer interaction of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

"Last year, 723 people died in vehicle-related crashes in our state. Of that number, 144 were pedestrians. What is most disturbing about these statistics is that many of these deaths were preventable," said Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "Through this new campaign, we want to remind everyone that crossing the street at crosswalks, yielding to pedestrians, slowing down in construction and school zones, using seatbelts, child safety seats and helmets SAVE LIVES."

The launching of NJDOT's public education campaign coincides with "Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day - October 10, 2001," a national effort to focus attention on reducing fatalities on United States roads. About 42,000 people die due to automobile crashes in the U.S. each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 23 percent of all crashes are caused by driver inattention.

"Safety on our roads is especially important in a state that is as densely populated and heavily traveled as New Jersey. It takes constant vigilance which has to be shared among all of those who use the roads," said Dennis Merida, New Jersey Division Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration. "The FHWA supports all efforts, nationally and locally, to educate the public on safety."

"This campaign is about taking pro-active steps to reduce the odds of becoming a statistic, " said Pam Fischer, Assistant Vice President of the Automobile Club of America's New Jersey Chapter. "Drive as if your life depends on it. Drive defensively, obey the posted speed limits, slow down in bad weather, and don't drink and drive."

The Department's education campaign is supported by more than $12 million in pedestrian and bicycle safety capital projects funded in Acting Governor DiFrancesco's fiscal year 2002 budget.

To create a safer interaction of pedestrians and motorists NJDOT is either deploying or testing the following devices:
  • In-road lighted pedestrian crosswalks;
  • Audible and vibratory pedestrian indicators for the visually impaired;
  • Countdown signing which makes pedestrians aware of the amount of time remaining for them to cross the street;
  • Actuated flashing pedestrian crossing signs;
  • In-street "Yield to Pedestrians" signs to draw attention to pedestrian activity.
Over the past two years, the NJDOT's Bureau of Safety Programs has collected data on the worst intersections in the state based on frequency and associated severity of pedestrian accidents. Using the three E's ¾ Education, Enforcement and Engineering ¾ the Department is working with local and county officials to develop counter-measures to improve safety at these locations.

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  Last Updated:  March 30, 2007