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Are pedestrians at higher risk of injury in New Jersey?

This state has a higher than average frequency of incidents with collisions between cars and pedestrians that involve injuries or fatalities when compared with most other states. The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety has responded by developing a pedestrian safety program for residents.

The three-pronged approach deals with these components:

-- Education: Spreading the message of pedestrian safety to all demographic groups is its focus, with a particular priority given to the elderly, children and those who don't speak English.

-- Enforcement: Law enforcement concentrates their patrols in locations where there have been prior instances of collisions with pedestrians. Both pedestrians and drivers are ticketed for illegal actions that put them at risk.

-- Engineering: Enhanced signage and crosswalk striping are two examples of engineering components.

There are some safety precautions pedestrians can take to remain safer, including:

-- Looking to the left, to the right and back to the left before attempting to cross.

-- Be on the alert for cars that are turning.

-- Whenever possible, use crosswalks and intersections to cross the street.

-- When it's necessary to cross in other locations, pedestrians must yield to motorists.

-- Don't attempt to walk while intoxicated.

-- Walk towards traffic.

-- Even if you have the right of way, remember how physically vulnerable you are. When in doubt, wait it out.

-- At night, wear bright, reflective clothing.

Drivers also have to follow safety protocols to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Below are some important tips for motorists.

-- Drive at or below posted speed limits.

-- Remember pedestrians have the right of way in marked crosswalks. Failing to stop can cost $200 in fines, plus court costs, 15 days' worth of community service, two points against your driver's license and higher insurance rates.

-- Never park in or block crosswalks.

-- Look out for pedestrians before making a right on red.

When inevitable accidents occur and pedestrians get injured, they have the right to seek civil justice through the New Jersey courts.

Source: NewJersey.gov, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed Nov. 03, 2016

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