New Bill Aims to Reduce Pedestrian Fatalities [AUDIO]
In New Jersey, 402 pedestrians were killed and more than 13,000 injured between 2009 to 2011. That translates into one death every 2.5 days and 14 injuries daily.
Reps. Frank LoBiondo (D-NJ) and Joe Crowley (D-NY) have introduced legislation to combat the problem. The Pedestrian Fatalities Reduction Act of 2014 would require states to focus on problem areas and improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
"We must take proactive steps to ensure safety on our roadways for both drivers and pedestrians, rather than simply reacting after a tragic event has occurred. This common sense bipartisan legislation will help states, and communities properly plan for road improvement and expansion projects, ensuring greater safety of bicyclists and pedestrians who also use our streets," said LoBiondo in an emailed press release Thursday.
LoBiondo is a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Currently, states are required to submit a Strategic Highway Safety Plan to the Federal Highway Administration in order to receive federal highway safety funds. This is a comprehensive plan designed to reduce accidents on public roads and is used by states to outline safety needs and determine where to invest money.
The Pedestrian Fatalities Act would require Strategic Highway Safety Plans to include statistics on pedestrian injuries and fatalities and ask states to demonstrate how they would address any increase in these incidents on both the state and county levels.
"It's meant to be proactive. It's meant to be able to look at the statistics, see where the problems are and address those problems before we have additional tragedies," LoBiondo told Townsquare Media. "They will incorporate the problem areas with recommendations in the planning stages of how to further avoid pedestrian accidents and fatalities."
The measure would also update the federal handbook that local and state departments of transportation use when collecting highway safety data. The changes would specify the inclusion of elements that promote safety for pedestrians as well as cyclists.