Report: Ocean County Among Deadliest For Senior Pedestrians

elderly crossing rdOlder pedestrians are more likely than younger people to be killed by vehicles, and Atlantic County had the highest death rate for senior pedestrians in the state, according to a Tri-State Transportation Campaign report released Wednesday. Atlantic County saw seven deaths of older pedestrians from 2006 to 2008, thus ranking it fourth in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area in the death rate for older pedestrians, with 4.67 killed for every 100,000 people age 60 and older. The Atlantic County death rate may be inflated because of the large number of tourists who come to the area, the report said.

Ocean County, with 20 older pedestrian deaths – but a larger population base – placed second in New Jersey and fifth in the tri-state area with a death rate of 4.64 per 100,000 people. Cape May and Cumberland counties were not included in the study because they had few pedestrian fatalities.

People age 60 and older were 28 percent of the pedestrians killed on New Jersey roads in that three-year period, although they make up just 18 percent of the population, the report stated. The death rate for older pedestrians in New Jersey is nearly twice as high as for people younger than 60.

Atlantic County Director of Highway Safety Michael Schurman said Wednesday evening that he is disappointed but not surprised by the findings.

Atlantic County has a large senior-citizen population, and many towns in the county have programs to make sure pedestrians cross streets safely and that drivers see them.

“It’s a constant battle to deal with the situation,” Schurman said, adding that many accidents are the pedestrians’ fault.

The Black Horse and White Horse pikes are the most dangerous roads in the county for pedestrians, Schurman said.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign listed four factors that may contribute to older pedestrians having a higher death rate:

– Seniors are less likely to survive being hit by a vehicle

– A higher proportion of seniors gave up driving and are walking more

– Older people are less able to get out of the way of oncoming vehicles.

– Structural factors, such as the time allowed for crosswalk signals, ignore the needs of older and slower pedestrians.

The report cited a need to improve safety for seniors on foot as the population grows older. Pressofatlanticcity.

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  1. You are not kidding. To all my fellow seniors be very careful when crossing those crosswalks. Even in Jackson. Especially at night. There are a lot of blind drivers out there.

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