Information on traffic fatalities during the first nine months of 2021 for New Jersey shows a nearly 20% increase over the previous year. While there were fewer people on the roads in 2020, experts say that some of the bad driving habits people picked up when there was less traffic made for more dangerous conditions last year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this includes a deadly combination of speeding and failure to wear seatbelts.
We certainly weren’t the only state to show this disturbing trend. Preliminary 2021 numbers being released across the country show a rise in fatalities in a total of 38 states. The head of the National Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) called the trend a “nightmare.”
What is Hoboken doing right?
It’s not all bad news for New Jersey. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently discussed the safety crisis on the nation’s roads and the federal measures being taken to address it. However, he lauded Hoboken for not having a single traffic fatality in four years and a decrease in injuries. The city’s Vision Zero safety campaign, implemented in 2019, is credited for these results.
While local, state and federal entities can take steps to improve safety on a broad level, anyone who gets behind the wheel or even in the passenger seat can do their part. Safety advocates are calling on NHTSA and Congress to encourage automakers to put rear seat belt reminders in vehicles. However, drivers can always make it a habit not to move until everyone is buckled up or secured in an age-appropriate car seat – even if they’re just driving up the street.
Unfortunately, we have little (if any) control over how safely others on the road drive. If you’ve been injured by a reckless or negligent driver, don’t settle for less compensation than you need and deserve to deal with medical bills, lost income and more. It may be wise to seek legal guidance.