Young drivers spend more time behind the wheel, it's travel season, and there are more pedestrians and cyclists out and about.

That's why AAA considers the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day to be the deadliest time of year on our roadways.

And while their annual '100 deadliest days' warning typically sounds the alarm about teen drivers, recently released federal statistics suggest drivers of all ages are at greater risk this summer.

"Especially in shore towns we need to be very vigilant, which is why it's so important that drivers are focused on the task of simply just driving," Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, told New Jersey 101.5.

Nearly 12,000 individuals lost their lives on U.S. roadways in June, July and August of last year, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than half of those killed were someone other than a vehicle's driver, including more than 1,600 pedestrians.

The statistics show that traffic fatalities involving drivers of all ages reached a 16-year high in 2021, increasing by more than 10% from 2020.

"And preliminary crash data is indicating that this year may be significantly worse than what we saw last year," Noble said.

Speeding is up, along with driver impairment and distraction, while seat belt use is down, Noble said.

Year to date, as of the morning of June 1, there were 247 fatal accidents on New Jersey's roads, according to New Jersey State Police data. That count was 213 at the same point last year.

As of Mar. 1 of this year, a law in New Jersey requires motorists to slow down or shift lanes in order to accommodate pedestrians and bikers. An already existing law requires the same accommodation for emergency and construction vehicles on the shoulder.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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