Fatal NJ Car Accidents Reach High Levels
In some parts of the country, car accidents and fatalities have been down since COVID forced quarantines and kept vehicles off the roadways. However, some states, like New Jersey, are actually seeing an increase in motor vehicle fatalities. In New Jersey, the problem is so severe that it has become an “escalating emergency.”
In just the first three months of 2022, the state has seen a rate of car accident deaths that has resulted in the highest number in two decades. The average national gain was 7%. New Jersey almost doubled that, at 13%.
Through August 19, there were 440 motor vehicle accident fatalities reported throughout the state. This number includes deaths among drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. During this same time period in 2021, there were 389 deaths. In 2020, the number was even lower, at 337. Last year, there were 699 car accident fatalities in New Jersey. This was the highest number in the state since 2007, when there were 724 deaths.
As you can see, traffic fatalities have increased in New Jersey since 2019. These are the highest percentage gains seen since the 1970s. Government agencies have tried various programs to reduce car accidents. For example, the Speeding Wrecks Lives campaign and Wheels Risk program were launched during the pandemic to spread awareness about common causes of accidents, such as speeding and drunk driving.
The COVID pandemic kept congestion down on the roadways. Fewer cars, however, led to more incidents of speeding, and many people were killed as a result. In fact, between 2019 and 2020, speeding-related deaths went up 23%. Another thing to consider is that for the six months after 2020, the rate of drivers testing positive for opioids nearly doubled.
The numbers are trending in the wrong direction. With all the safety measures currently in place, fatal accidents should be going down. However, the rate of fatalities per mile had not substantially improved over the past decade. With the marked increase in 2020, Black and American Indian populations face the highest risk.
The good news is that traffic programs in New Jersey may be working. The state’s new safe passing laws require 4-foot buffers for drivers passing cyclists and they may be helping to some degree. Deaths among bicyclists and pedestrians have been consistent throughout the state, even through the COVID pandemic.
Lawmakers are asking auto manufacturers to step up and add more crash avoidance technology to vehicles. Features such as blind spot detection and automatic emergency braking can help avoid accidents.
Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Vehicles have a lot of technology to keep occupants safe, but motorists need to do their part as well to stay focused on the road and drive defensively to avoid accidents.
If you have been involved in a crash, a Morristown car accidents attorney from The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff can help you get the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and more. Call (973) 455-1567 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation.