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The number of traffic deaths in New Jersey rose 8 percent last year, which means traffic fatalities have gone up for three consecutive years.  Data from the State Police show motor-vehicle-related deaths – which include not just when two vehicles crash, but also incidents involving cars and pedestrians or bicyclists increased, mirroring a national trend.  A total of 562 motor vehicle deaths were recorded in 2015, and that number jumped to 607 last year.

One of the biggest contributing factors to deaths on the road has been distracted driving.  A New Jersey State Police report shows that from 2011 to 2015, driver inattention was the leading factor in fatal accidents.  Other factors that contribute to the trend are impaired driving, speeding and an increase in the number of drivers on the road.

The counties that had the most fatal crashes last year aren’t in the densely populated northern part of the state.  Burlington and Monmouth counties proved to be more deadly than Hudson, Union and Middlesex, based on an analysis of State Police fatal crash statistics for 2016.

Across the country, motor-vehicle deaths have been on the rise.  A National Safety Council report in August showed motor-vehicle deaths up 9 percent in the first six months of last year over the same period in 2015.

It’s too early to tell why motor-vehicle crashes have increased dramatically over the past year, but police say cutting down on speed, wearing your seat belt and concentrating on driving are vital to saving lives.  According to Gary Poedubicky, the acting director of the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety “We’ll see a reduction in the crashes and fatalities if we can get highway users to make sound and responsible decisions on the road.  That is the biggest challenge we’re presented with; it’s changing attitude of all highway users.”


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