The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority has an ongoing campaign to encourage greater pedestrian safety in New Jersey.

The authority's director of communication and community affairs, David Behrend, said pedestrian fatalities and injuries continue to exceed the national average, and the federal government has taken notice.

"The Federal Highway Administration, which provides transportation funding to all of the states, has designated New Jersey what they call a 'pedestrian-focused' state — which means they are encouraging New Jersey to take extra effort to improve pedestrian safety on our transportation system," Behrend said.

And the statistics apparently bear out that need. According to the State Police, 184 people in New Jersey last year died in pedestrian/vehicle accidents.

Behrend says the Authority's "Street Smart NJ" campaign this month is part of an ongoing effort to improve pedestrian safety in the state: "It is a combination of law enforcement and education and raising awareness.

Eighty-four towns are part of the current effort.

"What I should point out is that this is an ongoing effort," Behrend said. "It is not just this month, it is not just next month. We have been at this since late 2013, when we began with some pilot communities, and we are regularly launching campaigns in different communities across the state."

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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