In New Jersey, people 65 and older are at a higher risk of being hit by a car.
Fatal pedestrian accidents have increased dramatically over the last 10 years nationwide. But a closer look at New Jersey's fatal pedestrian accidents reveals a disturbing problem - older residents are over-represented among victims. In 2021, for example, people 65 and older accounted for more than 30% of fatal pedestrian accident victims in New Jersey. Meanwhile, this demographic only makes up about 17% of the state's general population.
Safety advocates say that to address this issue and reduce the number of pedestrian accidents involving older adults, it is essential to focus on improving infrastructure, promoting traffic safety education, and implementing policies that enhance pedestrian safety.
Pedestrians of every age face hazards
While seniors are at greater risk, everyone on foot has to contend with New Jersey traffic hazards. Overall, about 200 pedestrians died in New Jersey crashes last year. So far, in 2023, 81 fatal pedestrian accidents have occurred in the state. Middlesex County, as well as Bergen, Essex, and Ocean counties, are reporting the highest numbers of fatal pedestrian accidents. Recent deadly pedestrian accidents have occurred statewide, including devastating incidents in:
- Caldwell on Rte 506.
- East Orange on Rte 508.
- Freehold on SH 9.
- Hazlet on SH 35.
- Middletown on Garden State Pkwy.
- Newark on Rte 603, Monroe St, North 9th St, Washington St, and Mulberry St.
- Ocean on SH 66.
- Upper Freehold on Rte 539.
Pedestrian deaths are a nationwide problem
The issue of pedestrian safety isn't isolated to New Jersey. In a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), it was revealed that pedestrian fatalities reached a 41-year high in 2022, with over 7,508 pedestrian deaths recorded nationwide.
That's the highest pedestrian death toll since 1981.
Nationwide, pedestrian fatalities have also seen a dramatic increase of 77% since 2010, a figure significantly higher than the 25% rise in all other traffic-related deaths. Factors such as dangerous driving, poor infrastructure, and heavier vehicles have contributed to this ongoing pedestrian safety crisis.
The GHSA report also identified several key trends in pedestrian fatalities from 2010 to 2021. Notably, most pedestrian deaths occurred at night and in areas without sidewalks, with a significant increase in fatalities involving SUVs due to their larger size and weight.
Additionally, the risk of death for pedestrians increased exponentially with vehicle speed. The report suggested measures such as focusing traffic enforcement on dangerous driving behaviors, educating drivers about pedestrian safety, and adopting a Safe System approach to road safety.
This approach, first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, aims to eliminate road deaths by designing better infrastructure, enforcing lower speeds, and creating a safety net to lessen the impact of crashes. Despite these alarming figures, the GHSA emphasizes that pedestrian accidents are preventable and that concerted action is needed to reverse this trend.
Claims involving pedestrian accidents are complicated
If you were hit by a car or a loved one died in a fatal pedestrian accident, take immediate action and talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Navigating pedestrian accident claims can be complex, and drivers frequently attempt to blame the victim on foot.
Likewise, insurance companies are in business to make a profit, meaning they often try to limit or deny compensation in order to minimize their costs. They may do this by disputing the severity of your injuries, asserting you had pre-existing conditions, arguing that you were partially or fully at fault for the accident, or claiming that you did not seek appropriate medical attention in a timely manner. That's why it's crucial to have experienced legal representation on your side to counter these tactics and fight for the compensation you deserve.
For nearly 100 years, Shebell & Shebell, LLC has offered highly-skilled legal representation to accident victims in New Jersey. Our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers understand the unique challenges injury claims often present and can handle every aspect of your potential case. Don't wait to reach out. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you. We have offices in Shrewsbury and Newark, and we serve clients throughout New Jersey.