February 17, 2023, East Orange, NJ: With a rise in pedestrian fatalities and injuries, the Department of Public Safety’s Traffic Division has launched a Traffic Enforcement Initiative with various checkpoints throughout the city aimed at eliminating crashes, making roads safer and ultimately saving lives.
Public Safety Director Maurice Boyd said East Orange police will identify and address all traffic violators – including pedestrians – through education and summonses. The initiative primarily will target drivers committing the following infractions:
- Speeding Vehicles and Trailers
- Failure to Yield to Pedestrians
- Distracted and/or Impaired Driving
- Parking and Seatbelt Violations
- Phoning/Texting While Driving
- Double Parking
In 2022, there were 2,274 accidents, six (6) fatalities and 98,905 summonses, and in 2023, there have been 177 accidents, one (1) fatality and 11,567 summonses issues since January, according to Boyd.
The city’s most recent pedestrian fatality occurred last month when an accident claimed the life of Karl Smith, a resident who was hit by a car while crossing busy Freeway Drive. In the wake of that accident, Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake held a press conference to highlight the hazardous and often fatal conditions on Freeway Drive in East Orange and Orange.
Mayor Ted R. Green attended the press conference and reinforced the need to make changes that would slow down traffic on Freeway Drive. Over the past five years, the city’s Department of Public Works has installed more speed bumps, one-way signage and additional stop signs to slow down traffic throughout the city’s five wards.
The Department of Public Safety also recently purchased eight (8) ATS Traffic Message Boards which have been strategically placed around the city. The boards alert drivers when they are traveling at an unsafe speed, especially in school zones and areas of high pedestrian traffic.
“When we step out of the house, we all have somewhere to be, but speeding through lights, not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and cutting off other drivers is never worth the risk. One fatality is too many and 18 in 10 years is unacceptable. Over the past four years, we’ve had an average of 248 accidents every year on Freeway Drive alone,” Mayor Green said. “Public safety is my administration’s top priority and we are stepping up all efforts against aggressive and distracted driving.”
Boyd said traffic safety is a shared responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians. He encourages pedestrians to obey traffic signals, stay on sidewalks when possible, wear brighter clothes when walking at night, and be aware of drivers.
“Most accidents are avoidable and EOPD is committed to changing those negative behaviors that result in traffic-related injuries or death,” said Boyd.