NJ pedestrian fatality count at its highest level in 20 years
Not since the early 1990s has New Jersey seen so many pedestrian deaths in one year.
As of late Tuesday, according to the New Jersey State Police, 179 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey roads in 2017.
And that does not include a Monday evening incident in Galloway where a woman reportedly fell into the road and was fatally struck by a vehicle.
Last week, a man was killed while attempting to cross Route 9 in Lower Township on Saturday evening. Toms River experienced two pedestrian fatalities in three days.
"We're expecting more than 180 pedestrian deaths in New Jersey in 2017," Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, told New Jersey 101.5. "The last time pedestrian deaths exceeded that number was back in 1993 when 197 people were killed."
The State Police count does not offer details of each incident. Poedubicky noted these vehicle-human collisions don't all occur at a designated crosswalk.
Pedestrians account for nearly 30 percent of New Jersey crash casualties in 2017. More than 90 of the pedestrian victims were between 50 and 79 years old.
Poedubicky said pedestrians and motorists have a shared responsibility of keeping New Jersey's roads fatality-free, noting both are more distracted these days by their smartphones and other devices.
The faster a vehicle is moving, Poedubicky added, the less reaction time for both the pedestrian and driver before a collision.
Overall, 612 lives have been lost so far in 2017 on New Jersey roadways — compared to 585 the same time last year and 531 in 2015. The total casualty count last topped 600 in 2011.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.