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NJ Fatal Car Crash Rates Spike, On Pace for Highest in 17 Years

car crash

Deadly car crashes have spiked dramatically in New Jersey this year and are on pace for a record high not seen in nearly two decades.

According to data from the New Jersey State Police, there were 209 reported motor vehicle accident fatalities as of May 7, 2024. Should things continue at the current pace, the state could see as many as 744 vehicle deaths by end of year, exceeding the 607 deaths recorded in 2023.

A Closer Look at the Numbers

The 744 projected car crash fatalities represent a roughly 27% year-over-year increase and would be the most on record in the 17 years that the NJ State Police has captured data on car crash deaths.

Here’s some more about the numbers:

  • So far in 2024, victim fatalities include 107 drivers, 29 passengers, 3 cyclists, and 70 pedestrians.
  • The most deaths by age group are as follows: ages 50-64 for drivers, ages 30-39 for passengers, ages 65-79 for cyclists, and ages 50-64 for pedestrians.
  • Counties with the most car accident deaths in 2024 include: Middlesex County (25 fatalities), Monmouth County (22), Bergen County (18), Camden County (17), Burlington (16), Atlantic County (15), Ocean County (14), and Mercer and Essex Counties (13).
  • Middlesex, Bergen, and Camden Counties have the most pedestrian fatalities, with 9 each.
  • In Middlesex County, which currently has the most car crash deaths of any County in New Jersey, fatal crashes commonly occurred on State Highway 1, the Garden State Parkway, and State Highway 130.

The current trend captured by New Jersey State Police is a major blow to the state’s ongoing efforts to eliminate motor vehicle deaths under its lofty Vision Zero initiative. It’s also raising alarm bells among officials and safety advocates alike, especially after the 697 deaths recorded in 2021 and 689 deaths in 2022, which are currently the worst on record since 2008. While 2023 saw an 18% decline in car crash fatalities, the recent spike seems to be a continuance of those record-setting, post-pandemic years.

In an effort to stem the tide, state and local governments are taking action by rolling out new programs and initiatives. This includes CRASH, or the Coordinated Response for Accident Suppression on Highways initiative from the state, and programs like one in South Brunswick which reallocate resources to increase police presence on the roads, resulting in more tickets for violations like speeding and distracted driving.

Levinson Axelrod, P.A.: Fighting for Car Accident Victims Across New Jersey

As a firm that’s been fighting for victims injured in motor vehicle accidents across New Jersey for over eight decades, our team at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. has seen how there has been real progress in terms of reducing the number of vehicle deaths statewide, which include as many as 880 in 1990.

However, we’ve also seen many alarming trends that contribute to spikes in traffic fatalities. Sometimes, these trends involve novel developments of the day, such as the increasing popularity of cell phones, or coincide with major events or social happenings, such as the summer holiday season or, most notably, the pandemic. Ultimately, however, they all boil down to one thing: negligence.

In New Jersey, drivers who harm others because they failed to uphold their obligations to safely operate their vehicles – whether that means paying attention to the road, obeying traffic signals, or driving at a safe speed – can be held liable for negligence. We know this because we’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims injured by people who caused preventable car crashes due to all types of negligent actions and continue to receive calls from folks who are injured by negligence every day.

As we reflect on this data, we encourage all our friends and family to remember that safety should always be a priority when you get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, we also know that the most safety conscious drivers can suffer harm when others are negligent. If you or someone you love are injured by a negligent motorist, we’re readily available to help.

Levinson Axelrod, P.A. proudly serves victims and families statewide from multiple office locations. Give us a call at (732) 440-3089 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

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