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There were 698 people killed in auto accidents in New Jersey in 2021, the most in 14 years. Early data for 2022 show this year could be even deadlier. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 149 people were killed in crashes in the first quarter of this year, compared to 131 in the same period in 2021. That’s a 13.7 percent increase.

Traffic deaths nationwide also reached new highs during the COVID pandemic era. The increased fatalities came come even though total miles driven dropped dramatically as people stayed home more and traveled less. Researchers and law enforcement officials say that the drop in traffic led to more speeding and drunk driving. Added to that, many exhausted frontline workers often drove while fatigued.

New Jersey drivers need to be especially attentive at the wheel and cautious of others on the road who may be engaged in behaviors that are known to cause the most automobile accidents. These include:

  • Distracted driving — Anything that takes a driver’s eyes away from the road or their hands off the wheel is distracted driving. Hand-held cell phone use and texting while driving, which are illegal in New Jersey, are major contributors to accidents. Steer clear of a vehicle when it appears that the driver may not be paying full attention.
  • Aggressive or reckless driving — This includes maneuvers like tailgating, driving on the shoulder, weaving in and out of lanes, passing in prohibited zones or racing to beat traffic signals. Don’t take any action to confront such a driver, since that may provoke further dangerous actions.
  • Driving under the influence — About a third of all traffic deaths are caused by drunk driving or drug-impaired driving. Increased recreational use of marijuana might heighten the risk. If you see signs of such driving, keep away from the vehicle or pull off the road if necessary to avoid it.
  • Speeding — Driving too fast remains the top cause of fatal auto accidents. Speeding increases a vehicle’s stopping distance, makes it more likely that the driver will lose control of the car and adds to the force of impacts. Stay out of passing lanes as much as possible so as not to obstruct a speeder’s path.

If you lost a loved one in a New Jersey motor vehicle accident or suffered injuries yourself, Seigel Law may be able to help you recover compensation. Our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers have decades of experience and are here to guide you through the legal process. Call our Ridgewood office at 201-444-4000 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation.

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