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Number of New Jersey car accident fatalities declines

The good news for the people of New Jersey is that the state lost 32 fewer people to auto accidents in 2012 than it did in 2011. This marked a decrease of about 5 percent. On the other side of the coin, 593 people still died from car accidents in New Jersey. Although this number is still preliminary, even one death is still too many.

Of particular concern, the number of fatal car collisions involving pedestrians increased. Twenty more people died in auto-pedestrian accidents this past year compared to 2011. 

Authorities continue to enforce New Jersey's impaired driving laws strictly and believe that doing so can prevent a number of fatal accidents. However, these same authorities have also noted the rise of distracted driving as a major traffic hazard.

Any number of activities, like eating or shaving, can distract a driver's attention from the road and thereby cause an accident. However, authorities are particularly concerned about a rise in the practice of texting and driving.

Talking on a cellphone while on the road carries with it its own set of distractions; however, texting additionally draws a driver's eyes away from the road while the driver composes the text.

While some law enforcement officers hope that improved enforcement efforts contributed to the decline in traffic fatalities, others wonder whether high gas prices have simply caused fewer people to take to the roadways.

Others believe that further education of younger drivers and their parents will reduce fatalities further in the coming years. These people also suggest a type of traffic deferral program for distracted drivers. Instead of paying a ticket and having that violation reported to their insurance companies, some drivers could receive a warning only provided that they receive education on the dangers of distracted driving.

Hopefully, such efforts will pay off with a continued decrease in fatalities for the upcoming years. In the mean time, those who have lost loved ones in car accidents may be entitled to financial compensation for their loss if another driver's negligence caused the accident.

Source:  South Jersey Times, "Fewer NJ road deaths in 2012, officials continue to urge safer driving," Alex Young, Jan. 26, 2013

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