In an era in which automobiles are increasingly equipped with advanced safety technology and legislators and law enforcement are finding new strategies for road safety, the auto accident statistics might be surprising. In New Jersey, 2021 saw the highest number of road fatalities in 14 years. As the numbers are analyzed and various entities debate how to improve the landscape, people who head out should be aware of the dangers they face.
Auto accident fatality spike sparks call for solutions
Legislators, law enforcement and safety advocates are searching for answers as to why there has been such a dramatic rise in road deaths. New Jersey had 690 fatalities in 2021. This is the third consecutive year where there has been a rise. This is true despite fewer vehicles being on the road because of the ongoing national health situation. That might play a role as drivers have shown a greater willingness to behave recklessly, speed, drive while distracted and drive under the influence. Pedestrians and bicyclists were especially vulnerable with 218 pedestrian deaths – 39 more than in 2020; and 23 bicyclists losing their lives – five more than the prior year.
One idea that is gaining renewed interest is the Vision Zero program. This is an ambitious attempt to put an end to traffic fatalities by 2030. Many states have put it into effect, but New Jersey is not one of them. Instead, the Garden State uses “Toward Zero Deaths.” Critics say it is not as effective as Vision Zero. It is not just New Jersey that has seen a troubling number of road deaths. It is a national concern. The initial statistics for 2021 are for the first half of the year and show than nearly 20,200 people died in road collisions. This is more than 18% higher than the first six months of 2020. New Jersey had a 12.6% increase for the first half of 2021.
Those impacted by an auto accident may need advice with how to proceed
Regardless of the numbers, people have the right to expect to be safe when they use the state’s roads. Unfortunately, as these numbers indicate, fatalities have been growing incrementally. Even if a person survives an auto accident, their lives will still undergo various changes with medical expenses, lost income, family challenges and more. For those who have lost a loved one, these are far more pronounced. When thinking about options after a crash, it is important that a full investigation be conducted, evidence gathered and there is a comprehensive analysis as to how it happened. Consulting with experienced people who understand these circumstances is a wise step.