NJ’s Traffic Deaths Are Increasing & Other Interesting Stats

For the last three years, New Jersey has seen an increasing number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents. Almost 700 people died in crashes in 2021, the highest rate since 2007, according to the New Jersey State Police.

With 412 deaths by August 2022, this year is on track to continue the trend. Drivers and their passengers are the only ones impacted. So far this year, traffic accidents have also resulted in the death of 14 cyclists and 94 pedestrians.

In this blog, we’ll look at New Jersey’s other historical statistics about vehicle crashes. The numbers show a mixed bag of good news and bad news.

Crashes Related to Cell Phone Use

New Jersey law prohibits the use of any handheld communication device. “Use” includes texting, sending or receiving electronic messages, and talking or listening to someone else. The use of a hands-free device, while not illegal, is discouraged because of its ability to distract from driving. A hand-held device is only allowed in emergency situations.

This cell phone law has been in place since 2008, but that does not mean that cell phone use has stopped in its tracks.

The good news is the number of accidents involving cell phone use has dropped. Here are the number of traffic accidents over the years related to cell phone use (hand-held/hands-free):

  • 2020: 837 (1 fatality)/301
  • 2019: 1,001 (1 fatality)/390
  • 2015: 1,650 (3 fatalities)/1,868 (1 fatality)
  • 2012: 1,702 (3 fatalities)/1,406 (3 fatalities)
  • 2009: 1,642 (8 fatalities)/1,648 (2 fatalities)
  • 2006: 1,684 (6 fatalities)/1,614 (5 fatalities)

Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Alcohol Use

About 27% of New Jersey drivers killed in an accident in 2020 had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. That statistic brings the state slightly under the U.S. average, which was 30%. Rhode Island’s 50% was the highest in the country. At 18%, Utah had the fewest drunk drivers killed.

A snapshot of alcohol use and motor vehicle accidents in America includes the following interesting data:

  • The most alcohol-related fatal crashes occur in warmer months (10.5% in August, 10% in both June and July)
  • 42% of drunk driving deaths happen on rural roads
  • 91% of the accidents happened on clear or cloudy days
  • 68% of fatal crashes were at night
  • 12% of fatal accidents were on interstates
  • 28% of deaths were occupants in other vehicles

New Jersey Counties with the Most Traffic Deaths

The number of vehicle crashes and deaths varies greatly over the state’s 21 counties. That said, no county has reported zero traffic deaths in the first 20 years of this century. The lowest fatal crash statistic comes from Hunterdon County in western New Jersey. That county reported only three crash deaths in 2018. Ocean County reported the most with 68 deaths in 2007.

The 5 counties with the highest number of fatalities in 2020 are as follows:

  1. Middlesex County: 61 fatalities
  2. Burlington County: 40 fatalities
  3. Essex County: 39 fatalities
  4. Atlantic County: 38 fatalities
  5. Bergen County: 38 fatalities

The 5 counties with the fewest traffic deaths in 2020 are as follows:

  1. Sussex County: 7 fatalities
  2. Cape May County: 8 fatalities
  3. Salem County: 11 fatalities
  4. Hunterdon County: 12 fatalities
  5. Warren County: 12 fatalities

Almost 60% of fatalities were in single-vehicle accidents.

2002 Was a High Mark for Injury Crashes

In data provided by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, there were nearly 78,000 crashes in the state that results in injuries. More than 9,000 were in Essex County alone. Here in Morris County, there were more than 3,500 injury crashes.

The fewest injury crashes occurred in 2020 with 42,791 accidents resulting in injury (out of 190,783 total crashes). Morris County also saw its fewest injury crashes that year with 1,742 (out of 8,701).

Most Deadly Accidents Occur on Saturday Night

Across the U.S., more fatal motor vehicle accidents take place between 8 p.m. and midnight on Saturdays than any other time or day of the week.

Here are the deadly crash percentages by day of the week:

  • Sunday: 15.6%
  • Monday: 12.5%
  • Tuesday: 12.6%
  • Wednesday: 13.1%
  • Thursday: 13.5%
  • Friday: 15.4%
  • Saturday: 17.2%

The month in 2020 with the most New Jersey crashes was November (59). April had the least (27).

Perhaps unsurprising, the evening rush hours saw the most accidents in New Jersey. The hour between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. had the most accidents (40). Here is an overview of the day:

  • 12:00-6:00 a.m.: 97 accidents
  • 6:00-9:00 a.m.: 44 accidents
  • 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: 56 accidents
  • 12:00-4:00 p.m.: 74 accidents
  • 4:00-7:00 p.m.: 107 accidents
  • 7:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.: 172 accidents

Quick Rundown of 2020 New Jersey Crash Stats

  • There were 550 fatal crashes with 587 people killed.
  • Of the fatalities, 29.1% had consumed alcohol to some extent.
  • Of all drivers, 12.2% were legally intoxicated.
  • An average of 1.61 persons were killed every day.
  • There were 77 fatal crashes involving 83 motorcycles.
  • There were 55 hit-and-run fatal crashes involving 96 vehicles.
  • Straight roads were involved in 81.6 % of all fatal crashes.
  • There were 25 tractor-trailers involved in 23 fatal crashes which resulted in 24 fatalities.
  • Most accidents happened on state or county roads.
  • More than 260 people were injured in crashes.

Crashes Are Often the Result of Carelessness or Recklessness

Some accidents are truly unavoidable incidents. Unfortunately, some accidents are the result of careless and reckless behavior. Injured drivers and passengers often suffer tremendous pain and long-term or life-long consequences. Family members are devastated when they lose their loved ones.

The Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. aggressively fights for maximum compensation for accident victims. Contact us today if you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was not their fault. We have more than 150 years of experience in personal injury cases. We are available 24/7 by calling (973) 358-6134.

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