As the days get longer and the temperatures look to increase, more people throughout New Jersey may be getting the itch to get outside more. Walkers, joggers and runners should be able to trust that their choice in exercise facilitates their good health. However, it may well be that their preferred method of outdoor exercise increases their risk of being hit by a motor vehicle.

Data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that New Jersey pedestrians are anything but safe. In 2016, there were 163 pedestrians killed in vehicular accidents statewide. These people represented 27% of all people killed in automotive crashes that year. In 2017, the number of pedestrian deaths jumped by 20 to 183, representing 29.3% of all vehicular deaths. On the surface, 2018 looked to be a better year for pedestrians with the number of deaths dropping to 173. However, in 2018, the overall number of vehicular fatalities fell even more, making that year’s pedestrian deaths accounting for 30.6% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities.

The Verge reports that the dangerous trend for pedestrians in New Jersey appears to be consistent around the country. Between 2017 and 2018, pedestrian deaths across the United States increased by 3.4% at the same time that overall traffic fatalities decreased by 2.4%.

AAA studies evaluating vehicles with advanced safety features found that these features have a long way to go if they are to actually provide increased safety. In nearly two-thirds of situations, pedestrian dummies were still hit in tests by vehicles with pedestrian detection systems and automatic emergency braking capabilities.