Watch Out Drivers!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every eight minutes a pedestrian is injured in an automobile accident. When most people think of automobile accidents, they usually think of collisions involving two or more vehicles – with the sounds of screeching tires and the impact of crunching metal and glass.

However, a number of accidents involve only one driver and despite involving only one vehicle, these types of accidents can often result in substantial damage and sometimes life-changing, horrendous injuries, especially when the accident involves a pedestrian. Every driver has the responsibility to observe the right-of-way to all pedestrians.

When they fail to do so and act in a careless or negligent way, victims have the right to pursue damages for their injuries. The Fort Lee Police Department, after a four-month lull with short winter days, has decided to bring back their pedestrian decoy program now that the days are getting a little longer.

This program has been designed to catch drivers in the act who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. The first target was located at an intersection where several automobile accidents involving pedestrians took place. Early one morning, just a week or so ago, a plain-clothes officers spent several hours walking back and forth across the intersection’s crosswalk to see if drivers obey traffic laws and stop for them.

Those drivers who didn’t obey the traffic laws were pulled over by a uniformed officer waiting down the street; the driver was fined $240. During the operation of last year’s program, several hundred summonses were issued. Pedestrian-related car accidents injured 76 pedestrians and killed two others. We’re hoping this year drivers drive safely and aren’t pulled over. Drivers, beware. From now until state grant funding for the program runs out in June, decoy operations will be held once or twice a month. Don’t be a statistic. Drive safely.

The police department isn’t conducting a sneak attack; their goal is education and enforcement. They want drivers to slow down and stop for pedestrians. Since the beginning of this year, cars and pedestrians have collided four times. Ongoing efforts to ensure that streets are safe include safety seminars for seniors and the general public, and free fluorescent umbrellas and flashing reflectors for pedestrians. The department is also considering installing more speed bumps.

If you suffered a pedestrian-related traffic injury, you may have legal rights to recover for the injuries sustained. Contact the personal injury law offices of Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi to discuss your legal rights and options. We are located in Fort Lee, New Jersey and New York City.