It’s a fact that a disproportionately high number of seniors are killed annually as pedestrians in the United Stated. In 2008, the 65-plus population comprised 18 percent of all car-related pedestrian fatalities, while they made up only 13% of the population. New Jersey has some alarming statistics of its own. In 2009, Atlantic County’s rate of 4.42 fatalities per 100,000 in population caused it to be in the upper third for highest county pedestrian fatality rates in the nation.

New Jersey needs the two bills on transportation safety currently being considered in Congress. “The Complete Streets Act” or HR 1443 and “The Older Driver and Pedestrian Safety and Roadway Enhancement Act” or HR 3355 will go a long way toward enacting safety enhancements that specifically address the needs of seniors. AARP supports both of these bills and is urging all members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors. The bills will fund proven road design improvements including the installation of countdown timers at crosswalks and making traffic signals and markings more visible.

These improvements specifically address the changes in health that many seniors experience, including slower reflexes and vision difficulties. This election is almost over; it is time for Congress to stop the ugly, destructive partisan bickering and get back to work.

Douglas Johnston

AARP Manager of Advocacy

Plainsboro, NJ