New data shows that New Jersey leads the nation in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents, and one Atlantic County Police Department took to the streets Thursday to reinforce the rules for both pedestrians and motorists.
What you're looking at is no ordinary pedestrian crossing the street; it's actually patrolman Jason Rigby of the Hammonton Police Department crossing a busy intersection in downtown Hammonton as part of a pedestrian safety exercise.
"Today [Thursday] what we're doing is trying to educate the public as far as having them stop for pedestrians in the cross walks," said Corp. Jay Pinto of the Hammonton Police Dept.
Newly released statistics shows that New Jersey leads the nation in pedestrian accidents; the Hammonton Police Department conducted this safety exercise as part of a state-wide grant given to police departments to help reduce the amount of pedestrian motor vehicle accidents.
"What I'm seeing right now is a lot of people very well distracted," Pinto said. "They're not paying attention to our decoy who does step into our crosswalk."
"It's nerve-wrecking and I'm trained to be out here to watch and make sure it's safe to cross the road but the average civilian crossing the road isn't really trained to be as careful as I am," explained Ptl. Jason Rigby of the Hammonton Police Dept.
Ptl. Rigby walked the intersection for nearly five hours and for any motorists, who failed to come to a complete stop for the decoy, found themselves pulled over by officers just a block away, who hand them an informative pamphlet of the law instead of a ticket.
"We decided we are not going to hand out summons we're not looking to go out to get money," Rigby said. "We're out to educate everybody it is a new law it was implemented within the last two years. Not too many people are aware of it. It's actually stop not yield.
According to Ptl. Rigby, more than 100 motorists failed to come to a complete stop.
A number they did not expect.
We had our teams both North and South stop ask us to slow down or stop for a couple minutes because they couldn't keep up to explain to the people what they had done.
The Hammonton Police Dept. will conduct about 20 more pedestrian safety exercises within the near future before they really start enforcing the law.