Law enforcement agencies across New Jersey are frustrated at the recent release of statistics about the state’s fatal car accidents in 2011; for the first time in five years, the number of fatalities has increased. In 2011, 638 people were killed on New Jersey roadways, meaning that 82 more lives were lost compared to 2010.
Why Was 2011 Such a Dangerous Year for New Jersey Drivers?
Police agencies, insurance industry experts, lawmakers and the New Jersey Department of Transportation are left wondering why the numbers spiked in 2011 after dropping for five consecutive years. Speculation is rampant, and theories include:
- An increase in alcohol-related crashes
- Persistently high rates of distracted drivers (those using handheld electronic devices like cellphones, PDAs, texting, GPS units or laptops behind the wheel; and those who are eating, drinking, grooming, changing music selections on the radio or an mp3 player; and those too actively involved in conversations with passengers)
- Aggressive drivers who speed, weave in and out of traffic and ignore traffic control devices like stop signs and red lights
A Different Theory
A spokesman for a business group – the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store and Automotive Association – puts forth a different theory for why the rates of fatal auto accidents have increased. They blame the rise on the fact that the New Jersey legislature abolished the need for annual vehicle inspections. The Association argues that those inspections were a vital step towards keeping unsafe vehicles off the roadways. An unsafe vehicle – like one with overly worn brakes that would require an increased distance to come to a full stop – combined with an aggressive or distracted driver could spell disaster not only for the occupants of that vehicle but also for fellow drivers on the road.
The cause for the increase in fatal and injury-causing auto accidents on New Jersey roads in 2011 is still under investigation. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident – or you tragically lost someone you care about – contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about possible legal actions you have to recover compensation for your injuries.