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Diegnan, Mukherji Legislation Aimed at Improving Street and Traffic Safety Advances


TRENTON – The Senate Transportation Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Patrick Diegnan and Raj Mukherji, S-361, which would establish the “New Jersey Target Zero Commission”. With the goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2040, the Commission would study and review all aspects of roadway safety to create an action plan with a focus on ensuring access, equity, and mobility for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

“With an increase in reckless driving and traffic fatalities following the pandemic, too many families are experiencing devastating, tragic losses that highlight the need for action,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex), who is also the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This will create a clear, comprehensive plan for State and local governments to save lives and protect our communities.”

Traffic violence across the nation has surged, and New Jersey is no exception. In 2022, New Jersey traffic deaths reached 706, a 15-year high. In 2021, both pedestrian and cyclist deaths hit 30-year highs, at 220 and 26, respectively. Nationwide, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by 46% between 2010 and 2019, while 2021 saw the highest number of traffic deaths in 16 years at 42,939.

“Roadway injuries and deaths can be drastically reduced, as demonstrated by Hoboken, which has gone seven consecutive years without a traffic-related death thanks to their effective implementation of Vision Zero,” said Senator Mukherji (D-Hudson), who is also the Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Developing a comprehensive action plan to end all traffic fatalities and making our transportation infrastructure pedestrian and cyclist-friendly will save lives.”

Though the pandemic contributed to a large increase in traffic fatalities, increased deaths among pedestrians and cyclists represent a continuing trend over the past decade that highlights a need for changes in how streets are designed and how transportation is envisioned.

The Commission would, among other purposes, be required to encourage the elimination of road hazards by advancing active transportation and mass transit as safe and viable forms of transportation across the state. Building on the success and lessons learned in communities across the state, the Commission would create a comprehensive plan identifying actionable, evidence-based safety countermeasures.

The bill was advanced in a unanimous vote.