New Jersey State Police reported that more people died in car crashes in 2017 than in any year since 2007.
According to officials, 629 people died in vehicle-related crashes as of Thursday, December 28, 30 more fatalities than in 2016 with another three days left on the calendar.
On top of the five percent increase from 2016, this marks a 16 percent increase since the start of 2013, a 20-year low in the state.
"We've not had New Year's Eve, where we're likely to see more crashes and impaired driving," said Cathleen Lewis, a AAA Northeast spokeswoman. "They're just too high and there is no reason for it with all of the tools we have and all the things we know."
New Jersey introduced a state highway plan back in 2015 that was designed to reduce the number of people killed in traffic crashes by 2.5 percent between 2015 and 2018. While the numbers initially looked promising after the summer of 2017 saw an overall decrease in deaths from 2016, an especially deadly fall pushed the total much higher.
"If your mind isn't on the road, you're a dangerous driver. People mistakenly believe if the technology is in the vehicle, it's safer, and that's not true," said Lewis, citing a AAA study that found 23 of 30 in-dash infotainment systems were distracting. "In the last decade, we banned handheld cell phones (while driving), but we haven't solved cognitive distraction."
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 27 percent more people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2016 compared to 2015. Only three other states saw a bigger increase.
At Levinson Axelrod, our New Jersey car accident lawyers are dedicated to providing injured victims with the knowledgeable legal representation they need. Car accidents can be devastating events for anyone to face, and you shouldn’t have to face it alone. If you were seriously injured in a car crash, give us a call at (732) 440-3089 to discuss your case over the phone, or request a free case evaluation through our online form today.