Overall roadway fatalities in New Jersey dropped by 9.5 percent and pedestrian fatalities dropped by 3.3 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However the number of serious injuries resulting from crashes rose by 19 percent, during the same period.
Statewide, there were 526 fatal crashes in 2018, down from 591 the year before, according to NHTSA. These crashes resulted in 565 fatalities, including 177 pedestrians and 16 cyclists.
While even one death is too many, the numbers show New Jersey is moving in the right direction and reducing fatalities at a faster rate than the national average.
Nationwide there was a 2.4 percent decrease in overall roadway fatalities in 2018, according to NHTSA. There were 36,560 people killed in crashes in 2018, down from 37,473 in 2017. Speeding-related fatalities dropped by 5.7 percent and alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities declined 3.6 percent, according to NHTSA. But the national numbers aren’t all positive. Pedestrian fatalities increased 3.4 percent to 6,283 and cyclist fatalities increased 6.3 percent to 857, according to NHTSA.
The federal agency said it continues to work with state and local partners to improve safety on roadways.
“New vehicles are safer than older ones and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said in a statement. “NHTSA has spent recent years partnering with state and local governments and safety advocates to urge the public to never drive impaired or distracted, to avoid excessive speed, and to always buckle up.”
NHTSA, which is part of the federal Department of Transportation (USDOT), is working to leverage resources and opportunities for collaboration within the department to reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. The data shows that a majority of these fatalities occurred at night (76 percent of pedestrians and 50 percent of cyclists). In addition to USDOT’s efforts, the Federal Highway Administration is focusing on reducing pedestrian and cyclist fatalities through funding, policies and resources, according to the NHTSA release.