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New Jersey
Hackensack Joins State Safety Campaign to Reduce Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Crashes
Story Number is : 102917103
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

On October 25, the City of Hackensack, along with the County of Bergen and Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center kicked off the Hackensack Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety campaign, developed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), which aims to reduce pedestrian-vehicle crashes. From left to right: Lt. Tina Cappadonna, Hackensack Police; Avnish Gupta, assistant executive director, EZ Ride Transportation Management Association; Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president, Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center; James Tedesco III, Bergen County Executive; John Labrosse, mayor of Hackensack; Zenobia Fields, director Department of Planning, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority; and Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., chief, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack
Hackensack today kicked off a month-long safety campaign aimed at making travel safer for pedestrians in the city.

The Hackensack Police Department is partnering with EZ Ride Transportation Management Association to conduct the campaign over the next four weeks. Street Smart NJ is a statewide public education, awareness and behavior change campaign developed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).
“Street Smart NJ is a common sense campaign that helps make our roads safer for everyone,” said Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III, who represents the county on the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “Safety is a top priority in Bergen County, and we need drivers and motorists to do their part by making smarter and safer decisions on the road.”

Hackensack is the Bergen County seat and home to the county’s administrative offices. County Executive Tedesco helped kickoff the campaign during a news conference at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Wednesday morning.

“Hackensack University Medical Center is proud to join the Hackensack Street Smart initiative, which aims to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president, Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center. “For more than 20 years, Hackensack University Medical Center has been providing trauma care for Northern New Jersey, the New York metropolitan area and beyond. Our dedicated trauma experts deliver a superior level of treatment that can only be found at a designated trauma center. As a human-centric, innovative and quality oriented organization, our trauma team provides injury prevention education on a routine basis to the public to help keep our communities safe.”

“Pedestrians are one and a half times more likely to be killed than occupants of a motor vehicle crash,” said Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., chief, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center. “New Jersey, with a pedestrian fatality rate of 1.8 per 100,000 residents, is higher than 19 other states in the U.S. Pedestrian trauma is preventable through injury prevention education. At Hackensack University Medical Center, a state designated trauma center, we have a robust injury prevention program and are excited to support the Hackensack Street Smart initiative to help become a safer state for pedestrians.”

The intersection of Thompson Street and Prospect Avenue, near Hackensack University Medical Center, will be a focus of the campaign. EZ Ride conducted pre-campaign observations at the intersection earlier this month and will return to the intersection for post-campaign observations after the Hackensack Police Department concludes its education and enforcement activities.
There were 273 pedestrian-involved crashes in Hackensack from 2012 through 2016, resulting in 264 injuries and nine fatalities.

“Hackensack is excited to participate in Street Smart NJ to help make our streets safer for everyone,” said Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse. “Pedestrian safety is also good for our local economy. When people feel safe they are more likely to walk around our business district, visiting our restaurants and local shops.”
Street Smart NJ, a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations, urges motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to obey New Jersey’s pedestrian safety laws. The campaign’s slogan is “Check Your Vital Signs,” because pedestrian safety is vital to everyone’s well-being. The key “vital signs” are speed limit and stop signs for drivers, and walk/don’t walk signals and crosswalks for pedestrians. A fifth message, “Heads Up, Phones Down,” encourages both motorists and pedestrians to avoid distractions.

Pedestrian safety continues to be an important issue in New Jersey. The Federal Highway Administration designated New Jersey a “focus” state for the high incidence of injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians. From 2011 to 2015, 765 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes and more than 22,000 were injured, according to the state data.

Throughout the campaign, street signs, posters, safety tip cards, coasters and cup sleeves will be on display in the city. The Hackensack Police Department will distribute safety tip cards and conduct enforcement activities.
“Our officers will be interacting with motorists to make sure they know and obey the law, stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks and avoiding distractions,” Hackensack Police Lt. Tina Cappadonna said. “We will also be reminding pedestrians to use crosswalks and to cross at intersections.”

The Street Smart NJ campaign works. Evaluations of campaigns in 2016 found a 40 percent reduction in drivers failing to yield to crossing pedestrians or cyclists and a 28 percent reduction in pedestrians jaywalking or crossing against the signal.
NJTPA Executive Director Mary K. Murphy commended Bergen County and Hackensack for partnering with Street Smart to make New Jersey’s streets safer for everyone. The NJTPA has set a goal of securing 100 campaign partners and Hackensack marks Street Smart’s 65th partner.

“Any community can run a Street Smart NJ campaign,” Executive Director Murphy said. “We have everything you need — from posters to tip cards to a ‘how to’ guide and a digital toolkit — online. I urge you to join us in our efforts to shift New Jersey from a pedestrian focus state to a pedestrian friendly state.”
For additional information on Street Smart NJ visit

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