Any stretch of road could be the scene of a deadly accident, but some roads are more prone to accidents than others. Route 55, a 40-mile road from Deptford Township in Gloucester County to Maurice River Township in Cumberland County, has been the scene of seven fatalities so far this year, according to NJ.com.
Seven deaths were reported on Route 55 in all of 2015. Six died in each of 2013 and 2014, but no fatalities were reported in 2012, according to New Jersey State Police accident statistics. The latest fatal accident happened in May when a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle after her vehicle had crashed into a tree and she walked back to the roadway to get help.
Route 55 is considered a major South Jersey roadway connecting residents in Gloucester County to other roads:
- Route 42 (Atlantic City Expressway)
- The New Jersey Turnpike
- Interstate 295
- Interstate 76 into and out of Philadelphia.
At the southern end of the road in Cumberland County, it connects to Routes 47, 49 and 56.
The given reasons for the many accidents over the years vary, according to police reports, including driver inattention, impairment by drugs or alcohol, tire failure and unsafe speed (the speed limit for most of the road is 65 mph). Wildlife may cause a distraction or an accident, as it’s a very rural roadway running through forested areas.
Police are supposed to monitor accident reports to try to find trends so they can decide where stepped-up law enforcement may be needed. If there is an increase in accidents due to excessive speed or drunken driving in a particular area, for example, police should increase patrols in that area.
Route 55 is fairly free of obstructions, flat with a road surface in good condition. More than 72,000 vehicles travel on Route 55 in the Deptford area each day, while about 33,000 vehicles are on it in the Vineland area, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
These incidents happened before the most recent fatal accident in May on Route 55:
- An 18-year-old passenger was killed in January when the car she was traveling in went off the road and hit a tree in Elk Township.
- The next day a state prison inmate traveling in a corrections department vehicle was killed when it collided with a truck near Millville.
- Former Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum died of injuries she suffered in February after her car lost control on the icy roadway and hit trees in Pittsgrove Township.
- A Sea Isle City man lost his life in March after his car collided with a truck applying salt on the road in Vineland.
- In April a Pitman man was killed after his vehicle went off the roadway and flipped over in Deptford.
- A Pennsylvania woman also died in April when her vehicle ran off the road and overturned in Millville.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident on Route 55 or elsewhere in New Jersey due to the negligence of another party, schedule a free consultation with our office by calling us at (973) 358-6134 or by using our online quick connect form. Statutes of limitations apply, so contact us as soon as possible so you can learn about your legal rights and take action to protect your interests.