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NJ Traffic Fatalities Outpace National Average in First Half of Year


The number of estimated traffic deaths across the U.S. has hit a two-decade high, according to a recently released report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And the problem is even worse in New Jersey.

The findings follow NHTSA’s release of its early estimates of traffic fatalities for the first half of 2022, which found that an estimated 20,175 people died in motor vehicle crashes. According to NHTSA:

  • The estimated fatality rate for the first half of 2022 represents a 0.5% increase over the 20,070 fatalities in the first half of 2021.
  • The 2022 figure represents the highest number of traffic deaths during the first half of the year since 2006.
  • An estimated 29 states experienced increases in traffic deaths during the first half of the year.

The NHTSA report also shows that traffic fatalities in New Jersey have spiked dramatically year-over-year. According to the numbers:

  • There were 342 estimated fatalities in New Jersey in the first half of 2022.
  • Compared to the 285 traffic fatalities in the first half of 2021, the new numbers represent a 19.9% increase.

In New Jersey, the trend has also continued through August and September. As of September 27, there have been 523 traffic fatalities in the Garden state, according to NJ State Police data.

Negligent & Reckless Driving Remain Big Factors

While NHTSA’s estimates suggest that traffic fatality rates in some states started to dip during the second quarter for the first time since 2020, the numbers are still stirring their fair share of concern among regulators and safety advocates. In New Jersey, they’ve been called an “escalating emergency.”

In its announcement of the half-year report, NHTSA noted that the federal government is working to significantly reduce serious deaths on U.S. roadways by employing a variety of tools. This includes infrastructure developments, increased funding, and adding more advanced driver assistance technologies – such as blind spot detection, blind spot intervention, lane assist, and pedestrian automatic emergency braking – to NHTSA’s approved list.

States are also targeting unsafe driving behaviors, which became a real problem on roads that saw less traffic during the pandemic. As safety experts note, that includes many of the same problems:

  • Speeding
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Distracted driving / texting while driving
  • Failures to yield
  • Running stop lights / stop signs

At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our attorneys have been fighting for victims injured in motor vehicle accidents across New Jersey for decades. Over the years, we’ve seen various trends and certain hazards or safety issues that come and go – but we have never been relieved of having to confront the devastating consequences that so often follow the same general types of negligent behaviors – be it recklessness, inattention, or disregard for traffic laws.

As lawmakers look for ways to gain traction in the fight to make our roads and highways safer, we will continue our work helping victims and families hold negligent motorists accountable. If you have questions about a car accident anywhere in the state, contact us for a free consultation.