Wednesday, December 8, 2021

2021 Deadliest Year for Pedestrians Since 1989

We’re just a few weeks into December and already 2021 has become the deadliest on record for pedestrians in New Jersey in more than 30 years.

More than 200 pedestrians have been killed this year, according to the latest data from the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). Overall roadway deaths are up as well.

There had been 644 fatalities as of December 8, compared to 587 for all of 2020. When comparing 2021 year-to-date data with the same period in 2020, there has been a 16.9 percent increase in fatalities.

So far this year, 31. 5 percent (203) of the people killed in crashes were pedestrians. That’s up 1 percent over 2020.

And there has been an increase in the number of cyclists killed — 20 so far this year compared to 18 in all of 2020.

New Jersey experienced the highest number of pedestrian fatalities this year since 1989, when 217 pedestrians were killed. (For cyclists, this year compares to a high of 25 in 2001.) However, in 1989 there were 892 total fatalities, meaning pedestrians only accounted for 24.3 percent of all crash victims.

These early numbers do not provide details on the factors that contributed to the fatal crashes this year. Historically, driver inattention has been the leading cause of fatal crashes in New Jersey, followed by unsafe speeds. Slowing down and avoiding distractions will help prevent crashes and save lives.

Focusing on education, enforcement and engineering can help reduce these numbers. Street Smart NJ combines education and enforcement to change the behaviors that contribute to fatal crashes, placing an emphasis on getting drivers and pedestrians to adhere to the state’s laws and be safe when travelling.
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