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Full-Stop Traffic Light Prevents Pedestrian Deaths in New Jersey

Motor vehicle accidents are a reality of life in high-traffic areas, such as cities and major highways. Collisions are often minor and result in nothing more serious than car damage, but there is little more dangerous to pedestrians than to be hit by a car.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency reports that more than 5,300 pedestrians were killed in 2015, up about 8 percent from 2014. A small town in New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York, suffered a pedestrian fatality and decided to make a change.

Leonia, New Jersey, experienced a surge in through traffic as smartphone navigation became more popular and drivers sought a shortcut to the George Washington Bridge. After a person was fatally struck by one of these drivers, the town set a key traffic light to stop all vehicles for nearly half a minute every two cycles.

"Completely shutting down vehicle movement was what we needed to do," said Leonia Police Chief Thomas P. Rowe. "I can't see another person getting killed. You have to make the priority pedestrian safety."

The American Journal of Public Health discovered that the risk of crashes involving vehicles and pedestrians was 50% lower at intersections with all-red traffic stops, compared to intersections that had standard traffic signaling.

Tools such as the full-stop traffic light are helping to reduce pedestrian danger on the roads. Drivers have the final responsibility, however, in ensuring their commute or trip does not cause damage or injuries.

Victims of motor vehicle accidents and their families may seek legal counsel to ensure coverage of medical expenses by the liable party. Consider your options with a lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured by a moving car.

Source: Washington Post, "Everybody stop: N.J. finds simple way to cut crashes involving pedestrians," Fredrick Kunkle, July 18, 2017

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