Vehicles seem to be safer these days, with better safety standards and engineering making it easier than ever for the occupants of a vehicle to survive a crash. However, even while vehicles seem to be getting safer all the time, pedestrians, cyclists and even those on scooters and motorcycles find themselves facing more risk.
Fatal crashes involving someone not in an enclosed vehicle occur with concerning frequency in New Jersey. State lawmakers have now taken the first step toward creating a policy that might reduce the number of traffic fatalities that occur every year in New Jersey.
Lawmakers want drivers to be more aware of others on the road
People driving on public roads often don’t pay enough attention to what they’re doing. A long-developed sense of comfort with the act of driving and the assumption that the vehicle will protect them in the event of a crash can lead to driver apathy. They don’t think about what their behavior might mean for nearby pedestrians. Unless they watch carefully for others, they can cause fatal crashes.
A deadly pedestrian crash in 2020 is the inspiration for a new bill, which has bipartisan support and sponsorship. If passed, it would change the rules for drivers. The law would require drivers to merge to give bicycles more space if they can and require at least four feet of space between vehicles and pedestrians, bicyclists or scooter riders.
If traffic does not allow someone in a vehicle to give adequate space, they should slow to no more than 25 miles per hour until they pass the pedestrian, scooter rider or cyclist.
New rules mean that drivers will pay closer attention
If the law passes, as it very well could with bipartisan support, it will influence the way that you drive on a daily basis. However, by requiring that drivers memorize and follow new rules regarding scooter riders, pedestrians and bicyclists, the state will force drivers to monitor the roads more carefully for these other users.
Careful surveillance is often key to the prevention of crashes between vehicles and pedestrians. By requiring that drivers give extra space to pedestrians, the state helps ensure those drivers notice pedestrians and cyclists while out in traffic. Only time will tell if the bill will pass and if it will lead to a reduction in tragic collisions.