The New Jersey State Police track fatal motor vehicle accident statistics, and the results for 2016 show a trend in the wrong direction. In 2016, there was an 8.6% increase in the number of fatalities, bringing the statewide number to 608. The numbers for 2014 and 2015 were 556 and 562, respectively – almost identical.
Fatal Accidents in New Jersey
While years with significant increases in the number of fatalities can sometimes be the result of accidents in which there were multiple victims, the number of fatal crashes (the raw number of accidents) also rose from 522 in 2015 to 576 in 2016. The numbers of passenger, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities all remained near the 2015 numbers, but the number of drivers killed increased most dramatically (from 276 in 2015 to 334 in 2016). Two age ranges include the greatest number of victims: 50-64, followed by 30-39.
Distractions and Fatal Accidents in New Jersey
For years, the number of distractions to drivers has been rising. From smartphones and smart watches to cars with multiple screens, it is now more tempting than ever to look away from the road. There has been a significant media campaign to remind drivers not to text and drive, and the success was reflected in consistent numbers for 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, with the jump in 2016, that success has been called into question.
Of course, distractions are not the only cause of fatal accidents – consistent poor weather can also have a significant impact, and 2016 had multiple days of snow and strong summer storms. Distracted driving, however, is one element that we can control.
Visit the NJSP website to see the complete data, including a county-by-county breakdown.