With just days left until the new year, traffic deaths in New Jersey are fast approaching the number of fatalities recorded in 2021, according to data from the NJ State Police.
As the numbers show, there have been a total of 668 traffic fatalities statewide as of December 14, 2022. That’s just 29 shy of the 697 traffic deaths recorded on New Jersey roads and highways in 2021 and far above the 587 deaths in 2020.
As authorities and safety advocates watch the clock to see if this year’s traffic fatality total will fall below 2021, which saw the most motor vehicle deaths on record since 2007, the prospects don’t look good.
At the current pace of roughly 2 fatalities per day, this year’s numbers would edge by the 14-year high 697 deaths recorded in 2021. However, the total could in fact be much higher, especially as millions of New Jersey residents are expected to travel by car during the last stretch of the holiday season. In fact, some experts are concerned that New Jersey could approach numbers not seen since 2007, when there were 724 traffic fatalities across the state.
A Closer Look at the Numbers
Looking at State Police data, we’re able to catch a glimpse of what this year’s traffic fatalities look like in terms of victim classification. Of the 668 fatalities that have occurred as of December 14:
- 181 fatalities were pedestrians
- 17 were cyclists
- 373 were pedestrians
- 97 were passengers
The data also shows where fatal accidents occur by county. Counties with the most traffic deaths thus far include:
- Middlesex County (62)
- Monmouth County (54)
- Burlington County and Essex County (53)
- Camden County (51)
- Ocean County (50)
- Bergen County (43)
An Alarming Trend: Higher Rates of Motor Vehicle Deaths Post-Pandemic
Traffic deaths in New Jersey have generally trended down over the decades. By comparison, there were 880 deaths in 1990, 724 in 2007, 624 in 2017, and 555 in 2019.
Despite a momentary dip during the beginning of the pandemic, however, fatal crash rates have steadily increased. And in New Jersey, the problem has been even worse – earlier this year, we shared a post discussing how traffic fatalities in New Jersey were outpacing the national average, with the Garden State seeing the highest number of traffic deaths in the first six months of the year since 2006. Unfortunately, that trend has continued and may be part of a “new normal” in our post-pandemic lives.
According to experts, reasons behind the rising rate include the bad behaviors motorists exhibited when roads were empty during the pandemic, including speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and failures to wear seatbelts. Now that drivers are returning to the roads and traffic is increasing, they say, those bad habits have remained and have created a recipe for disaster.
Fighting for Motor Vehicle Accident Victims Across New Jersey
Levinson Axelrod, P.A. is a nationally recognized trial practice that has been fighting for victims injured in motor vehicle crashes across New Jersey for decades. Over our years in practice, we’ve seen many alarming trends that have contributed to spikes in traffic fatalities and always encourage our friends and neighbors to prioritize safety when they’re behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, we know that even the most safety conscious motorists can suffer harm when others around them are negligent. If you or someone you love were injured in a crash anywhere in the state, our award-winning attorneys want to help. Call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.