LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ — With summer’s traditional influx of seasonal visitors, Belmar’s police department has joined law enforcement across the Jersey Shore that are reminding motorists and pedestrians to be safe this summer.

Eighteen police departments in Monmouth and Ocean counties are participating in Street Smart NJ, which recently kicked off its summer pedestrian safety campaign in Beach Haven — the latest shore community to join the initiative.

“We hope that this campaign will help raise awareness about pedestrian safety during the busy summer months,” said Beach Haven Police Chief James Markoski at a July 25 news conference attended by police officers from participating departments. “Our officers will be reminding drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be safe by avoiding distractions and following the law.”

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Local police and volunteers will be distributing safety tip cards, which highlight the state’s pedestrian laws and include Street Smart NJ’s core messages, according to a press release.

Those Street Smart NJ core messages are:

  • Reminding drivers to stop for pedestrians and obey speed limits.
  • Urging pedestrians to use crosswalks and wait for the walk.
  • Encouraging drivers and pedestrians to follow, “heads up, phones down,” and to avoid distractions.

The campaign is also advertising at NJ Transit train stations in Belmar, Bradley Beach, Long Branch and Point Pleasant Beach, and on buses along the Jersey Shore.

In addition to Belmar, the other participating Monmouth County communities are: Atlantic Highlands, Avon-By-The-Sea, Bradley Beach, Little Silver, Long Branch, Manasquan, Monmouth Beach, Rumson, Sea Bright and Union Beach.

In Ocean County, the other municipalities taking part include Bay Head, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Point Pleasant Beach, Surf City and Toms River.

Street Smart NJ — coordinated by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) — is a collaborative effort between public, private and nonprofit organizations that aims to change pedestrian and motorist behaviors through education and enforcement. The program, which began in 2013 with five pilot sites, has expanded to include more than 70 community partners.

Street Smart NJ campaigns make a difference, according to the group. Evaluations following previous campaigns have 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.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has designated New Jersey a “focus” state for the high pedestrian fatality and injury rate. From 2011-2015, 765 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes and more than 22,000 were injured, according to the N.J. Division of Highway Traffic Safety. Pedestrians accounted for 28.7 percent of people killed in vehicle crashes during those years — nearly double the national pedestrian fatality rate.

More than 70 communities in New Jersey are part of Street Smart NJ. For additional information, visit its website by clicking here.

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