HACKENSACK, N.J. — City police are urging pedestrians to “pay attention” and “put the cell phone down” while crossing busy streets. And drivers, to learn the law and look out for pedestrians crossing.
The admonishment comes after two pedestrians were struck by motorists while trying to cross city streets. Both accidents occurred within the last five days in Hackensack.
The first occurred last Thursday evening, Feb. 6 after 10 p.m. A 39-year-old man, who was in the crosswalk on South Summit Avenue heading west at the intersection of West Pleasantview Avenue, had the crossing signal as he attempted to make his way across the thoroughfare, but didn’t make it. A 2019 Toyota Corolla, operated by 27-year-old Fausto Dutan Guallpa, was making a legal left turn from West Pleasantview onto South Summit Avenue when he “failed to yield to the pedestrian” and struck him. As a result of the hit, the pedestrian, who police did not identify, got a laceration to the face and pain in his legs, back and neck, which he received treatment for at a nearby hospital after he was transported via ambulance.
Dutan Guallpa was issued summonses for Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian within a Marked Crosswalk and Failure to Notify DMV of an Address Change.
Just this morning, at around 7 a.m., a 28-year-old Jersey City woman was struck by a 64-year-old Hackensack man driving a 2019 Ford Mustang while she was crossing east to west across Summit Avenue at Thompson Street in an unmarked crosswalk. The driver was traveling southbound on Summit Avenue when he struck the woman. The pedestrian sustained injury minor for pain to her leg and hip, which she was treated for at Hackensack University Medical Center.
According to Captain Nicole Foley, commanding officer of the Hackensack Police Traffic Bureau, the driver was assigned fault for Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian, but was not issued a summons.
Foley is urging pedestrians to keep their eyes on the driver and to put their cell phones down while crossing streets.
“Just pay attention,” said Foley. “In particular with pedestrians, they need to always be aware of their surroundings. Put the cell phone down. Never assume a vehicle is going to stop simply because you have the right of way. And make eye contact with the driver. If you don’t make eye contact, how can you be sure the driver sees you?”
As for the drivers? Be cognizant of the law and drive defensively.
“Familiarize yourself with the law. This accident in particular hits on a gray area that most motorists probably are not aware of, and that is that any intersection, whether marked or not, is considered a crosswalk and pedestrians have the right of way,” said Foley of this morning’s accident. “This driver was simply driving straight through with no apparent traffic control device like we do hundreds of times a day. He probably wasn’t aware of the law, and therefore didn’t expect there to be a person in the middle of the road. He would not be in the minority as far as not being aware of this. It is also imperative that drivers are not distracted and are always paying attention to the road, and looking ahead as to anticipate any situation that may occur, so they have ample time to react.”
Foley said motor vehicle accidents are preventable provided that every motorist and pedestrian keep their eyes peeled while on the road, and of course, practice the virtue of patience, which doesn’t hurt.
“It would be better to have to wait a few seconds, despite having the right of way, than putting yourself into a situation where you can be severely injured or killed,” she said. “Most accidents are avoidable if everyone would just focus on the task at hand, whether that be driving with all attention on the road, or being a pedestrian who is aware of traffic and waits until they are 100% sure it is safe to cross. It really is that simple.”