North Jersey is reporting that Valley Road in the Town of Wayne, New Jersey, was a concern for area police long before two pedestrians died there in two separate accidents over just one week.
A woman and a six-year-old child were struck on the busy road while trying to cross, resulting in the woman’s death and serious injuries to the child. Just the day before that, an elderly woman who was trying to cross was struck and killed.
Former area traffic officer Captain Dan Daly said that the dangerous road cannot have crosswalks added mid-block because it lies outside of national standards and guidelines for uniform traffic control devices. This road has been the location of many serious accidents in the past, but the town has limited options because it’s a county road and there are constraints from that designation and the uniform traffic control devices guidelines.
Both sides of the four-lane Valley Road have sidewalks, but there are very few crosswalks, and there were no street lights in the area where the child and woman were struck. This is a heavily-traveled road where cars have been clocked driving as fast as 70 miles per hour. The posted speed limit for many parts of the road is 40 miles per hour.
Nearby resident Dana Burns, who takes a transit bus on Valley Road regularly, said the area is downright scary, and it can be difficult to see with all the headlights at night. She was near the accident involving the woman and child just minutes after it happened and saw the victim lying in the street as first responders attempted to save her.
Pedestrians in increasing danger
As reported by The Washington Post, pedestrian fatalities have been creeping up over the past few years across the nation. The most recent year for which full data was compiled is 2016, and the statistics showed that close to 6,000 pedestrians died in crashes that year. In 2009, that figure was down to just over 4,100.
The actual cause behind the increase in pedestrian deaths is unknown, with increasing cellphone use by both drivers and walkers, substance abuse and faster speeds on the roadways all put forward by experts as potential contributors. There have also been changes in the use of neighborhoods but no corresponding changes in layouts. Many areas were designed in the 1950s to accommodate as much traffic as possible, but these neighborhoods now have more pedestrians in them, and the street designs don’t reflect that shift. The same applies to localities that have become more congested traffic-wise over the years. Many community groups in areas with a lot of pedestrian accidents have been pushing for more walker-friendly designs and roadway improvements.
A pedestrian accident often has serious consequences for the victim because of the differences in size, weight and speed between a person on foot and someone in a vehicle. If you were in a pedestrian accident, speak to an experienced attorney, like a pedestrian accident lawyer Denver CO trusts, about your case and your rights.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into pedestrian accident cases.