NJ Aims To Eliminate Traffic Deaths By 2040 With New Legislation

Legislation that would establish a New Jersey Target Zero Commission to study, examine, and review traffic safety measures with a focus on access, equity, and mobility for all road users cleared the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee last week. Bill A1476, sponsored by Assemblymembers Robert J. Karabinchak, John Allen and Linda S. Carter marks a significant step in the State’s efforts to end traffic-related deaths.

Safety advocates describe traffic fatalities as a public health crisis in New Jersey. Fatalities continue to rise across the State at an alarming rate per the latest findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s fatality analysis reporting system. New Jersey stands out as the most hazardous state for pedestrians nationwide, with almost twice the national average for pedestrian fatalities.

Under the bill, a commission comprising of 13 members would have the responsibility, among other tasks, to develop a comprehensive and coordinated action plan aimed at achieving the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roadways by 2040.

The commission would also identify short- and long-term data-driven strategies with measurable goals, and advise the Governor, the Legislature, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding policies, programs, research, and priorities to help achieve the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2040. The bill also tasks the commission with creating and maintaining an interactive website that would include items such as the commission’s plans, progress reports, meeting agendas and minutes, and educational materials about target zero.

The commission’s “Target Zero” objective to eliminate traffic-related deaths draws inspiration from Sweden’s Vision Zero policy. With an emphasis on designing road systems and policies to mitigate accidents and fatalities, Vision Zero distributes responsibility for pedestrian safety among road users, designers, engineers, and policymakers.

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