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AAA road safety forum to be held in New Jersey

Lawmakers, senior police officers and road safety advocates are scheduled to meet in New Jersey on Oct. 18 to talk about what can be done to stem a surge in the number of traffic accident fatalities. The meeting, which is being hosted by AAA, is one of several such forums that will be held across the country in the coming months. The organization decided to take action after federal accident data showed that road deaths, which had been declining steadily since the 1970s, increased by more than 7 percent in 2015 from the previous year.

According to NHTSA figures, 35,092 people died on America's roads in 2015, but New Jersey was one of the few states to buck the national trend. The 562 New Jersey traffic fatalities represented only a 1 percent increase over 2014 figures, and drunk driving deaths actually fell by almost a third. However, legislators and law enforcement agencies in the Garden State will have plenty to discuss at the meeting in Mercer County. Passenger and cyclist deaths increased by almost a quarter in New Jersey in 2015, and pedestrian fatalities were the highest since the turn of the century.

The AAA says that the best way to improve road safety is to focus on reducing intoxicated, distracted, and drowsy driving, but a professor from Princeton University disagrees. The professor is an autonomous vehicle specialist, and he feels that efforts to change driver behavior are futile. The professor believes that self-driving vehicles like those currently being developed by Google, General Motors, Ford and Tesla could one day virtually eliminate accident injuries and deaths.

In addition to protecting their occupants with an array of passive and active safety features, many of today's automobiles contain devices similar to aircraft black box recorders. The information saved on these devices can provide accident investigators with vital clues, and it can also be useful to personal injury attorneys seeking to establish negligence in car accident lawsuits.

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