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How to make New Jersey highways safer

Road construction sign (ThinkStock)

A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety promotes roadway improvements and highway engineering advances that they say would save 400,000 people from death and serious injuries over the next 20 years.

AAA/Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble says some of the improvements could prove to be unpopular in New Jersey, like converting key intersections to “roundabouts,” or traffic circles, which eliminate the possibility for left-turn collisions and reduce the chances for other crashes by circulating traffic in one direction at slower speeds.

But, she adds, “some of these recommendations are relatively simple fixes.”

Among them: installing roadside barriers and more rumble strips; adding sidewalks and traffic signals for pedestrians.

Noble also says our roads were not designed to handle the volume and weight of heavy trucks.

“We have had a lot of technological advances over the years, but unfortunately, our roadways have not been at the forefront.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also recommends:

— Divided highways should have median barriers to deter vehicles from crossing through the median and striking vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.

— Pave and widen shoulders, which would improve safety for police and others who find themselves on the shoulder of the road because of a traffic stop or other emergency.

The Foundation maintains that current expenditures for infrastructure improvements are “substantially lower” than what is necessary to fix the nation’s aging roads and bridges.

Noble says New Jersey has been ahead of the curve on some of these safety improvements, and the rest of the country should catch up.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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