2008 Road Deaths Fell 17%

Decreased Driving Is a Factor

STATE – New Jersey recorded far fewer crash fatalities in 2008 than any year on record, a AAA Mid-Atlantic review of State Police statistics found. There were fewer than 600 driver, passenger and other deaths in 2008.

“It appears to be an historic low,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman David Weinstein said. “The significant decrease in the number of miles we’re driving is absolutely a contributing factor. Coupled with all-time high seatbelt usage, the proliferation of effective traffic safety advocacy and aggressive enforcement of laws, New Jersey is on the right track.”

Federal government data show that Americans and New Jerseyans drove 1.7 billion fewer miles than in 2008.

“While it’s difficult to say with certainty why a crash did not occur, it’s a fair assumption that with fewer cars on the road, potential crashes and the fatalities that result from them will decrease,” Weinstein said. “In 2008, this is what we saw.”

Available historical state DOT and State Police data, located online, show both crashes and fatalities are dramatically lower than any other year for which data is available, going back to 1979.

• In 2008, 597 people died on Garden State roads, the result of 562 fatal crashes, state data show.

• The previous annual low in New Jersey road fatalities occurred in 2000 and 2004, when 723 people died.

• In 2007, 724 New Jersey road fatalities were recorded.

• The all-time high for New Jersey road fatalities, according to historical State Police data, occurred in 1981, when 1160 fatalities were recorded.

• The previous annual low in New Jersey fatal crashes occurred in 1999, when 626 fatal crashes occurred on New Jersey roadways.

• In 2008, New Jersey recorded 562 fatal crashes.

• Across the country, through the end of October, the national highway death toll was 31,110 – compared with 34,502 during the same period in 2007, according to federal data.

• The country is on pace for the lowest fatality total since 1966, when the federal government began recording this data.

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