SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The township police department said on Monday that it will participate in the annual nationwide “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day” campaign.
The day-long focus is Oct. 10, where law enforcement authorities encourage and raise awareness about safe driving to prevent fatal accidents for one day.
“[The] South Brunswick Police Department would like to challenge all drivers to drive safely, and help us realize our goal of zero fatalities, especially on Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day,” the department said in a statement. “Please remember that while we often target automobile drivers, we are also reaching out to pedestrians themselves, as traffic safety is shared responsibility.”
The department will have increased visibility and enforcement leading up to Oct. 10 and educating about traffic safety.
This year, the campaign in New Jersey added pedestrian safety as a focus to reduce the number of pedestrian-involved crashes and save lives.
The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety has so far awarded more than $1 million in grants in the fiscal year to help with the initiative.
“In a state as densely populated and highly traveled as New Jersey, keeping pedestrians safe on our roadways is paramount,” Eric Heitmann, director of the Division Highway Traffic Safety, said.
According to statistics the Highway Traffic Safety division provided, “More than 35,000 lives are lost each year in motor vehicle-related crashes nationwide.”
As of Oct. 9, there have been 431 fatalities in New Jersey related to motor vehicles in 2019, according to stats the New Jersey State Police compiles.
In Middlesex County, there have been 32 fatalities, five of which involved a pedestrian, State Police records show.
In 2018, there were 563 fatalities statewide, from 524 accidents. Fifty of those deaths were reported in Middlesex County, the most in the state, with 14 involving a pedestrian.
“If everyone traveling our roadways takes extra care to buckle up, observe speed limits, and pay attention while driving, biking, or walking on October 10, we will be well on our way to reaching our goal of keeping New Jersey roads fatality-free,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
To help keep drivers and pedestrian safe on Oct. 10 and every day, the division offered several tips.
Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
Watch for pedestrians when turning right on red.
Obey speed limits.
Do not block or park in crosswalks.
Keep windshield clean for maximum visibility.
Be alert for pedestrians at all times.
Never pass a school bus when it is loading or unloading students.
If there is no sidewalk available, walk as far off the roadway as possible on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
When possible, cross at corners, within crosswalks where available.
If crossing in other locations, yield the right of way to vehicles. Never cross in-between parked cars.
Obey traffic signals, “Walk/Don’t Walk.”
Never assume a driver sees you. To ensure they do, make eye contact with drivers as they approach.
Don’t assume that cars are going to stop.
Wear bright clothing during the day and wear light-colored clothes, reflective materials, or use a flashlight at night.
Stay sober. Walking while impaired greatly increases your chances of being struck by a vehicle.