Highway deaths declined nationwide last year to a record low, but the good news did not carry over into the Garden State. This year in New Jersey has not been promising either.

So far this year in the Garden State, according to preliminary numbers, there have been 192 fatalities in 183 accidents.

“That’s a pretty high number,” said Lieutenant Steven Jones with the New Jersey State Police. “That’s higher than the past two years.”

Jones said New Jersey drivers “need to realize we can do better” on the roads.

He continued, “We have room to improve, or if people behave the wrong way, we can go the other direction.”

In 2011, 628 people died as a result of motor vehicle crashes in New Jersey (including pedestrian casualties). In 2010, that number was at 556.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday released an early estimate of 2011 traffic fatalities. Data showed there were 32,310 deaths, a 1.7 percent drop from 2010.

Jones said it’s hard to prove why something didn’t happen; working theories include less people on the road due to gas prices, better safety standards for cars and increased enforcement.