CNBNEWS.net (August 29, 2007)Mount Ephraim Police Chief Edward C. Dobleman announced that the department is implementing a new program to the borough. The program is called "Street Smart Is Street Safe" and will help protect our school children, school crossing guards, and the citizens of our community. Residents and business owners will be able to contact the police to help with this quest.
Tragically, the pedestrian accident rate has significantly increased statewide. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation, a situation made worse by the number of vehicles on the state's roads. For example, 30 years ago 50 percent of students walked to school. Today, 85 percent are driven to school, resulting in congestion in school zones far beyond what the streets were designed to handle.
Too many drivers are distracted by eating or drinking behind the wheel, using cell phones or simply not paying attention. There are also increasing incidents of aggressive driving. Unfortunately, most unsafe driving in school zones is by drivers who use the streets most often, the parents and grandparents dropping off or picking up children.
See children ahead? Don't assume they know you are coming, even if they are looking right at you. Children and senior citizens lack auditory localization – the ability to locate a moving object by hearing it. That is why children and older people are far more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents.
Accidents involving children are especially common where there are parked cars that block a driver's vision of children darting into the street. Accidents involving senior citizens are more common at intersections because older people take longer to cross.
Many people are not even aware how fast they are going. If a car going 20 Mph hits a pedestrian, there is a 95% chance of survival. However, the survival rate declines to 45% at 30 Mph and less than 10% at 40 Mph.
To address this problem the Borough of Mt. Ephraim and Police Chief Dobleman will implement the "Street Smart is Street Safe" program starting this September. In this program, a Citizen Advisory Committee for Public Safety will be established and will consist of a member of the governing body, member of the board of education, the Chief of Police, the D.P.W. Superintendent, the municipal engineer and a number of civilian volunteers. Citizens wishing to participate in this program should call the Mount Ephraim Police Department at (856) 931-2225.
Also, in response to a statewide 65 percent increase in accidents involving crossing guards over the past 10 years, the MEPD will be implementing new training and requirements for crossing guards under the new "Street Smart is Street Safe" program. The program features a new training video for school crossing guards, classroom training for crossing guards and also standard medical requirements. This will create a safe working environment for crossing guards and also help to assure the safety of our children.
Any person seeing an incident of unsafe driving, including improper parking, or unsafe conditions, such as blocking the view of a crossing guard, is urged to notify the Mount Ephraim Police via phone at 856-931-2220 or via email at www.mountephraimpd.com as soon as it is practical.
Police Chief Dobleman stated, “On behalf of the members of the Mount Ephraim Police Department, I wanted to thank everyone for their anticipated cooperation with this program and remember that the MEPD will be out there prior to school and during school hours to enforce these laws for the safety of all of our children and citizens.”