Federal statistics show that fatalities from drunk driving have risen significantly in New Jersey by 25 percent. This figure puts New Jersey in the top four states in the country for drunk driving accidents involving fatalities. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration officials reported that 137 people died last year, up 27 percent over 2015 alcohol-impaired crashes. Only three other states saw a higher increase.
Experts agree that New Jersey needs more education and that drivers are not taking the risk of alcohol-impaired driving seriously. New Jersey saw a sharp decline from 2014 to 2015 in alcohol-related deaths but rose dramatically in 2016 to 137 deaths. Overall 601 people died in New Jersey car crashes in 2016. This increase of 7.1 percent surpassed the national average of 5.6 percent.
As traffic continues to grow with drivers traveling an impressive 3.2 trillion miles over the past year, so do alcohol-related traffic fatalities. A spokesperson for AAA expresses concern that impaired driving cases may increase if the state moves to legalize marijuana. If driving under the influence is not taken seriously, and marijuana is legalized, the results could be devastating. Driving while high is the same as driving while drunk.
While a number of experts agree that deaths due to drowsy and distracted driving have decreased, those numbers are misleading. Cell phones and in-vehicle technology contribute to unsafe conditions for drivers as well. In New Jersey, victims of drunk driving accidents or distracted driving may want to consult with a personal injury attorney. With his or her expertise and guidance, a lawyer can establish what legal actions are appropriate.
Source: nj.com, "More people are dying in alcohol-related car crashes in N.J.", Jonathan D. Salant, Oct. 7, 2017