Over the past several years, the Summit Police Department has communicated publicly with members of the Summit community about serious consequences of distracted driving for motorists and pedestrians. Another dangerous aspect of distracted behavior is the practice of distracted walking - when pedestrians talk on the phone, text or listen to music instead of paying attention to the traffic and conditions around them.
“Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are on the rise in the nation as more people text, call and use social media when walking” reports Summit Police Chief Robert Weck. “We continue to caution citizens to avoid being distracted by putting down their phones and staying focused on their surroundings as they walk or cross city streets."
Chief Weck further explains some recent additional measures implemented by the Summit Police Department and the City's Engineering Department to help make city streets more walkable, including the narrowing of several busy streets to enhance traffic calming, as well as the addition of flashing pedestrian beacons at crosswalks at some of Summit’s most heavily-trafficked streets. He believes that Summit Police Department and Board of Education programs such as “Sack the Phone” at Summit High School will help contribute to the continuing decrease in the number of pedestrian accidents in Summit.
“Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy and enjoy our city, but we need to continue to put safety first. Adults should set the example by following traffic signals, avoiding jaywalking in the business district and putting away the electronic devices while crossing the street. Our older residents can be great role models and hopefully influence our younger residents to do the same.”
Following are safety tips from the Summit Police Department for pedestrians of all ages:
- If you must use headphones or other electronic devices, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.
- If you need to talk to person next to you, make a phone call, text or any other action that could distract you from the goal of getting where you need to go safely, please stop and do so away from the traffic flow.
- Have children under the age of 10 cross the street with an adult.
- While you walk, focus on the people, objects, and obstacles around you; wear bright and/or reflective clothing when walking/jogging in the early morning and evening.
- Don't jaywalk. Cross streets carefully, preferably at a traffic signal or in a crosswalk, remaining cognizant of the pedestrian traffic flow and the cars and bikes in and near the road.
- Look up, not down, especially when stepping off or onto curbs or in the middle of major intersections. A majority of pedestrian accidents occur when vehicles are making a left turn at an intersection, so please look around as you cross.
- Never rely on a car to stop; make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to ensure they see you, even in crosswalks.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because cars can cover considerable distance in a short amount of time.
For more information about the Summit Police Department and pedestrian safety initiatives, go to cityofsummit.org/police or call 908-273-0051.