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Inherently Dangerous Intersections

Child killed, mother hurt – after struck by vehicle in Bloomfield, New Jersey intersection

Recently, NJ.com reported that a two-year-old girl and her mother were in a crosswalk at the intersection of Grove Street and Bloomfield Avenue when they were struck by a pickup truck making a left turn.  Sadly, the toddler was pronounced dead at a local hospital less than an hour after the accident.  Her mother suffered non-life threatening injuries.  The driver received a summons for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  The tragic death of this child prompted local officials to conduct a review regarding intersection safety.

Bloomfield locals, many of whom long complained about the dangerous crossroads – noted that the area is wrought with heavy traffic and high speeds.  Collisions occur on a frequent basis.  The intersection is close to an elementary school, the Garden State Parkway, and several businesses, including a strip mall.

Points of Conflict

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) describes intersections as “planned points of conflict in any roadway system.”  Typically, a combination of engineering solutions, such as intersection design and signage, together with proper education and enforcement minimizes the inherent risk of accident-prone intersections.

Over 4,000 pedestrians killed in 2011

According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 4,432 pedestrians were killed and approximately 69,000 were injured on our roadways in 2011.  That is an average of one pedestrian death every couple of hours and one pedestrian injury every eight minutes!

Not all of the 4,000 plus pedestrian deaths occurred at intersections – in fact, most did not – 70% of the fatalities took place at non-intersections.  Still, a major portion of tackling roadway safety concerns often deals with intersections.

“Everyone is a Pedestrian”

In order to curb pedestrian-related accidents, NHTSA and the FHWA implemented a new campaign, “Everyone is a Pedestrian.”  The premise behind the movement is that while people may opt for different modes of transportation – e.g., car, bus, vanpool, train, etc. – people need to get to and from their vehicles or catch their bus or train and thus everyone is a pedestrian at some point in time.

  • Reduction of pedestrian safety risks;
  • Promotion of pedestrian safety; and
  • Support of countermeasures to avoid future accidents.

Some of the counter-measures for intersections include the following:

  • Roundabouts;
  • Median barriers;
  • Modified T-Intersections;
  • Curb radius reduction; and/or
  • Pedestrian walkway at busy intersections.

Pedestrians and personal injuries

While community members and government officials across the country want to ensure the safety of all pedestrians, unfortunately, sometimes a tragedy occurs prior to any changes being made.  If you or someone you know is the victim of a pedestrian-related personal injury accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.

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