Bayonne promotes pedestrian safety in October

Distracted driving can have dire consequences

Bayonne residents are reminded of the importance of pedestrian safety, especially during the month of October, according to Mayor James Davis and Police Chief Robert Geisler.

Davis issued a proclamation declaring October to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the city. This presentation was one of many events organized by safe driving advocate Pam O’Donnell.

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Avoiding another tragedy

Four years ago, O’Donnell’s husband and daughter died in a car crash. That tragedy has compelled her to speak out about the direconsequences of unsafe driving.

O’Donnell has spoken at churches, schools, and corporations. The proclamation refers to public education programs sponsored by the National Safety Council and the Catch You Later Foundation, the latter founded by O’Donnell.

City officials on hand at the event included Public Safety Director Robert Kubert, Public Works Director Tom Cotter, First Ward Council Member Neil Carroll, Ali O’Donnell, Pam O’Donnell, City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, Council Member At-Large Juan Perez, Mayor Davis, and Police Chief Geisler.

The impact of distracted driving

Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads.

Researchers at the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, a nonprofit representing 50 state highway safety offices, are concerned that increasingly distracted drivers are leading to more collisions with pedestrians.

Sending or receiving an average text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blindfolded at 55-mph for the length of an entire football field.

Those few seconds of distracted driving could result in hitting a pedestrian.

Pedestrians: pay attention too!

The effects of pedestrian distraction can be seen in crash data, naturalistic behavioral observations, virtual environment simulator studies, and the laboratory.

Distraction changes the way pedestrians walk, react, and behave, including safety-related behaviors. It’s common to see people walking down the street looking at their phones.

When getting behind the wheel or walking down the street, putting away your phone should be automatic. No one can interact safely with fellow road users while distracted.

“You want others to pay attention to the road, right? You should pay attention, too,” Davis and Geisler said. “Let’s all do our part and have a happy and safe Halloween season.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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