Catastrophic injuries and fatalities are an unfortunate possibility whenever someone takes to the roads in New Jersey. Whether it is as a driver, a passenger, a pedestrian or while on a bicycle, it is important to be aware of ways to reduce the chance of a crash. That includes wearing a seatbelt, making sure to follow the speed limit, being predictable, avoiding distractions and driving while sober.
The most recent statistics have made action even more urgent. Toward that end, people who have lost a loved one in a crash and advocates for better road safety have joined forces to try and get the Garden State to use a Vision Zero program that will reduce accidents. While this is a lofty goal, even if it goes into effect, people need to be cognizant of the chance of an accident and know what to do after one has happened.
Group attempts to change the way Vision Zero operates
To improve Vision Zero, a commission consisting of 21 members would assess changing the program to lower the number of accidents incrementally until there are no deaths or injuries by 2035. The State Assembly approved it. This would differ from the current way the state tries to enhance safety with its “Toward Zero Deaths” program.
The most recent count for 2022 has 567 road deaths in the state. This comes about just as New Jersey had nearly 700 people lose their lives in accidents in 2021. This was the worst total in 14 years. Some areas have used Vision Zero and between 2019 and 2020 saw improvements in safety.
Specifically, Hoboken had a 13% reduction in auto-bicycle accidents, a 54% reduction in pedestrians being hit, and a 37% reduction in vehicle to vehicle accidents. Also, Vision Zero would work on infrastructure with curb extensions for pedestrians to have a shorter distance to travel when crossing. A reduced speed limit is also believed to be helpful.
The numbers are troubling and people may need help to know their rights
The idea that any program will be able to lower the number of auto accidents with injuries and fatalities brings hope, but currently, it is unrealistic. Given the current landscape with distracted driving, speeding, inexperienced drivers, negligence, drivers who are drunk or on drugs and other catalysts for accidents, people should be prepared.
After an auto accident, medical bills, lost time on the job, the need for extended care, problems contributing to a family and other challenges can arise. Families who have lost a loved one must try to move forward. For advice in dealing with insurance companies, finding evidence and pursuing a case, calling experienced professionals can be vital.