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Fair Lawn police go on offensive against non-yielding motorists — and pedestrians

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: Fair Lawn police are joining a growing number of area law enforcers who are targeting motorists who don’t yield to pedestrians — and pedestrians who put themselves at risk. And they’re telling you where they’ll be.

Compared with the nation overall, New Jersey has an usually high rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, Acting Police Chief Glen Cauwels noted.

On average, an American pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes, he added.

The response in Fair Lawn is the Pedestrian Safety Initiative, which Cauwels said “will focus on violations of pedestrian safety statutes by both motorists and pedestrians.”

Although officers will be on the lookout throughout the borough, the acting chief said, they’ll focus on three specific areas: The Radburn Train Station area along Fair Lawn Avenue between Abbott Road and Chandler Drive; The River Road business district between Fair Lawn and Berdan avenues; and Broadway .

Besides looking for motorists who fail to stop for predestrians in the crosswalk and illegally use cellphones, Fair Lawn police will issue summonses to pedestrians who ignore “Don’t Walk” signals, fail to use nearby crosswalks or intersections or cross mid-block without yielding to vehicles.

New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers some tips for pedestrians:

  • Cross at corners within marked crosswalks where available;
  • If otherwise, yield to vehicles (or face a $54 fine, plus court costs);
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing;
  • Watch for turning cars;
  • Always walk facing traffic;
  • Obey traffic signals, especially “Walk/Don’t Walk”;
  • Stay alert! Don’t assume cars are going to stop’
  • Don’t walk and text;
  • Wear reflective clothing at night;
  • Don’t “walk drunk”: You’d be surprised how many impaired pedestrians are struck.

Drivers, meanwhile, must:

  • Stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks or pay a $200 fine (plus court costs), have two points taken off your license and expect insurance surcharges;
  • Watch for pedestrians when turning right on red;
  • Obey speed limits;
  • Don’t block or park in crosswalks;
  • Keep your windshield clean for maximum visibility;
  • Be alert for pedestrians at all times.

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