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Because New Jersey has the highest population density of any state, it also has one of the highest vehicle and pedestrian accident rates. Calming traffic in our communities must be given a major priority because high vehicle speeds put pedestrians at much greater risk. If a car going 20 MPH hits a pedestrian, there is a 95% chance of survival. However, the survival rate decreases to 45% at 30 MPH and less than 10% at 40 MPH.

A successful public safety program starts with local officials placing the issue on the monthly discussion agenda. Only the governing body can establish the necessary priority. The program must include engineering improvements, a public awareness campaign and police enforcement.

The Citizens Advisory Committee for Public Safety should consist of a member of the governing body, a member of the Board of Education, the municipal manager, Chief of Police, DPW Superintendent, municipal engineer and a number of citizen volunteers. Start by reviewing the traffic patterns around each school, all crossing guard posts and major walking routes. The committee should also seek input from Home and School Associations as well as neighborhood groups.

After the initial review, identify the greatest hazards and recommend appropriate improvements. It is critical to keep the governing body and Board of Education informed because ultimately they must make the budget appropriations. Also, work with the local press and other media to inform the public.