13th Annual STOP For Nikhil
The 13th Annual STOP For Nikhil on Sunday, September 24th, proved that rain could not dampen the spirits of the hundreds who gathered to commemorate lives lost in traffic crashes and to promote traffic safety awareness.
The STOP For Nikhil event unites community members, safety advocates, law enforcement agencies, and families affected by traffic crashes, all with a shared mission of emphasizing the importance of road safety.
This year’s event featured an impressive lineup of attendees, including Asm. Karabinchak, West Orange Council members, West Orange Board of Education, West Orange School District staff, West Orange residents, and individuals from across the tri-state. The event raised an impressive $46,000 to further our mission of preventing traffic fatalities and nurturing the academic and musical talents of children.
The day kicked off with a spirited 5K bike ride. The pledge of allegiance was led by Nikhil’s scout troop, Troop 6, followed by a stirring duet of our national anthem performed by West Orange High School students. Asm. Karabinchak addressed the gathering, emphasizing the perils of distracted driving. The Traffic Safety Youth Advisory Board led the participants in the STOP For Nikhil pledge, a crucial component of Nikhil’s Law. The event featured a 5K run, 3K walk, Kids Fun Run, energetic Bollywood warm-ups, raffles, food, and face painting.
Assemblyman Karabinchak expressed his deep honor and motivation to continue advocating for pedestrian safety: “I was deeply honored to attend the 13th Annual Stop For Nikhil event on Sunday in West Orange, where the unwavering dedication of countless individuals braving the elements to raise awareness for traffic safety left me truly inspired. Thank you to the organizers, students, and advocates behind this remarkable gathering, for not only including me and allowing me to say of few words, but for igniting a fire within me to persist in my fight for pedestrian safety in Trenton. Together, we can make our streets safer for all.”
The event’s highlight was the presentation of the Annual Nikhil Badlani Inspiration Award to Pam O’Donnell. Pam, who tragically lost her husband and 5-year-old daughter to an impaired driver in 2016, was recognized for her incredible strength and dedication: “I’m incredibly honored to receive the Inspiration Award from this amazing organization. I just wish people like the Badlanis and myself and other advocates didn’t have to do this work to save lives. Hopefully, we can eradicate this epidemic of distracted and impaired driving and realize a Vision of Zero deaths in the future.”
The Nikhil Badlani Foundation passionately urged legislators to support bill S2885, sponsored by Senator Diegnan, and ensure its passage in the Senate by year-end. The identical bill, introduced by Assemblyman Karabinchak, received unanimous approval in the Assembly in June. This legislation seeks to establish a Commission tasked with developing a comprehensive action plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries on New Jersey roadways, using the safe system approach by 2040.
New Jersey will become the third state to take a bold step towards eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries when this bill is passed and enacted into law. While we cannot change the past for families who have tragically lost their loved ones on NJ roadways, with the active implementation of this bill, we can proactively work towards preventing further tragedies.
With your support, we are building a legacy that will lead us to a future where Zero Traffic Deaths become a reality. Thank you for being the driving force behind this vital mission.