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Facts and safety tips for New Jersey pedestrians

Taking walks can be a healthy exercise. However, pedestrians walking near roadways face the risk of being hit and injured or killed by a vehicle. In fact, in 2013, about 4,700 pedestrians around the country died in a traffic-related crash and more than 156,000 suffered serious injuries.

Pedestrians are those who travel on foot, use a wheelchair, bicycle, or other similar means. While all pedestrians are at risk for serious injuries or death from a car-related accident, reports show that some are at a greater risk, including those between the ages 15 and 29, male pedestrians and people with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or more. Additionally, the risk of crash-related pedestrian deaths tends to increase with age. Children below 14 years of age are also more prone to be injured or killed in a pedestrian-car accident.

These facts show that pedestrians should be vigilant, especially when making their way across busy crosswalks and intersections. First, it is highly important that when pedestrians cross the street, they only use designated intersections or crosswalks. They should also use sidewalks or, if no sidewalk is available, they should walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic. It is also important for pedestrians to keep their eyes on the road and not on electronic devices and other distractions. When walking at night, pedestrians should use a flashlight and make themselves visible to motorists by dressing in retro-reflective clothes.

Pedestrians who have suffered a serious injury after being struck by a vehicle might want to meet with an attorney to see what legal recourse may be available. If it can be demonstrated that the pedestrian had the right of way, it may be advisable to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit filed against the negligent motorist.

Source: CDC, "Walk This Way! Taking Steps for Pedestrian Safety", May 20, 2016

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