NEW JERSEY 101.5

In an effort to lower New Jersey's 14th-place ranking in nationwide pedestrian fatalities, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) has kicked off its new "Street Smart" pilot program, designed to raise public awareness about how to stay safe on the state's roads.

Flickr User Dave in the triad

The campaign urges motorists and pedestrians alike to check their vital signs to improve safety, according to NJTPA spokesman David Behrend.

"For drivers, it's to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks per New Jersey law and to obey the speed limit, especially in areas where pedestrians are present. For pedestrians, they need to use the marked crosswalks and they have to wait for the walk signal," said Behrend. "So, it's really about all the users of our roads and streets working together, sharing the responsibility and doing what they need to do to improve safety."

From 2009 to 2011, 402 pedestrians were killed and more than 13,000 injured on New Jersey roadways, which translates into one death every 2.5 days and 14 injuries daily. Street Smart is being piloted in Woodbridge, Newark, Hackettstown and Jersey City through November. An additional pilot effort will come to Long Beach Island in early summer 2014.

The campaign uses advertising, grassroots public awareness efforts and law enforcement to address pedestrian safety.

"There are banners, signs on the street, sidewalk adhesives and cards with safety tips and reminders that can be handed out in these different communities," said Behrend. "Lives are on the line. We know all too well what can happen when a pedestrian and a car meet."

For more information about the campaign, visit www.bestreetsmartnj.org.