HACKENSACK, N.J. — Despite a recent admonishment from city police advising drivers and pedestrians to pay attention while driving or crossing the street following a string of pedestrian-related motor vehicle accidents, a third pedestrian has been struck by a car in the city in the last three weeks.
Last night after 8 p.m., a 30-year-old Hackensack woman was struck in the crosswalk at the intersection of Polifly Road and Essex Street headed eastbound when a 2002 Toyota Camry driven by a 27-year-old Lodi man, had attempted to make a left-hand turn off of Essex Street onto Polifly Road southbound. The man reportedly told police that he did not see the woman crossing the street, and that when she came into view, he had attempted to stop, but the collision was unavoidable, according to Captain Nicole Foley, commanding officer of the Hackensack Police Traffic Bureau.
Last night’s accident marked the third pedestrian struck in Hackensack within three weeks. The first occurred after 10 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6. A motorist was issued a summons for Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian after he struck a 39-year-old man who was in a marked crosswalk while attempting to cross South Summit Avenue at the intersection of West Pleasantview Avenue. The man was treated for a laceration to the face and pain in his legs, back and neck at a nearby hospital.
The second pedestrian accident occurred days later on the early morning of Tuesday, Feb. 11. A 28-year-old Jersey City woman was struck by a 64-year-old Hackensack man while she was attempting to cross Summit Avenue at Thompson Street. Because she was in an unmarked crosswalk, the driver was assigned fault for Failing to Yield, but not issued a summons. The pedestrian was treated at Hackensack University Medical Center for a minor injury for pain to her leg and hip.
When TAPinto Hackensack first reported the string of pedestrian-related car accidents last week, Foley said both drivers and pedestrians should “pay attention” on the road and to put away their phones while driving and crossing the street. She also advised pedestrians to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street to avoid any accidents and to have patience and to wait before the coast is clear to cross.
“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 percent sure it is safe to cross,” Foley said.
According to Foley, the number of pedestrian-related accidents in February isn't unusual. Last year eight pedestrians were struck that month. While most of the collisions are "minor," she said the police department would like to see none.
"Fortunately, most of these collisions are minor, but the variables are always the same," explained Foley. "The driver doesn’t see the pedestrian in a crosswalk, or the pedestrian is crossing mid-block (or against a "don’t walk" signal) and/or wearing dark clothes. We would love for the numbers to drop to zero, but until people start better exercising caution, there is only so much we can do."
In the spring, she said the Hackensack Police Department plans to do targeted pedestrian enforcement given the uptick in these types of accidents.
"These types of collisions will increase as the weather warms up and people are out and about more often, so our goal is try and prevent them as best we can," said Foley. "Unfortunately the reality is that we will never be able to create a crash-free environment, but if we can prevent even one collision from occurring because of our efforts, then it is worth the time.