NJ drivers behaving badly – and deadly crashes are soaring
If it seems to you that more people are driving like maniacs on New Jersey highways and byways these days, it turns out you’re right.
The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds motor vehicle fatalities in the Garden State are spiking.
A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2021 shows that an estimated 496 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in New Jersey
This represents an increase of 19.2% as compared to 416 fatalities that were projected in the first nine months of 2020, according to NHTSA crash stats.
Tracy Noble, the manager of public and government affairs for AAA MidAtlantic, said the uptick in fatalities is hardly surprising.
“It’s simply because of the amount of reckless behavior that we have seen on our New Jersey roadways,” she said.
“We’ve seen traffic volume bounce back to pre-pandemic levels and now we’ve seen fatal crashes surpassing pre-pandemic levels, which is alarming and concerning.”
Why is this happening?
She said the reason this is happening is because of “distracted driving, driving while impaired — whether it be an illegal substance a legal substance or alcohol — and speeding.”
“As safe as today’s cars and trucks are they are not designed to withstand crash forces when people are traveling upwards of 80, 90, 100 miles per hour," she said.
She noted in order to understand why reckless driving has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic, “there’s going to have to be a deeper dive into the factors and behaviors we have seen taking place.”
What's the fix?
Noble said to begin to solve the problem we need to embrace a multi-facetted approach.
“That means education for all drivers, getting the enforcement campaigns out there and working and public safety campaigns,” she said.
“Just to increase motorists' awareness, and hopefully get them to pay attention that their safety really is in their own hands.”
According to NHTSA, the statistical projection of traffic fatalities nationwide for the first nine months of 2021 shows that an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 12% as compared to 28,325 fatalities that were projected in the first nine months of 2020.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.