Distraction apparently is taking its toll in New Jersey, where driver deaths are down but pedestrian deaths are considerably up from last year. Authorities won’t speculate why, but they say the jump to 71 pedestrian deaths this year from 50 over the same period last year is “disturbing.”
You still see plenty of people holding cellphones to their ears as they drive. A few days ago, a guy behind me had his phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
Drivers are texting, as well. And right on red seems more a liberty than a caution.
But we can’t put it all on them.
How many people do you see talking or texting on a cell as they walk? The other morning, I watched a woman outside my building cross a busy street, head down, texting.
Fortunately, no cars came by.
State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes urged people to be as concerned as they are informed.
“We are building on last year’s record lows in every sector but pedestrian fatalities,” Fuentes said. “Last year was a 20-year low for statewide fatalities on New Jersey roadways, and we must not forget the safe driving behaviors that led to that decrease.”
He didn’t address walking and seeing traffic at the same time.