HAMILTON – Single-vehicle crashes were the cause of more than six in 10 New Jersey traffic deaths in 2008, a percentage that increased significantly over 2007 even as the state’s total road deaths fell dramatically, an analysis of recently released federal data by AAA Mid-Atlantic shows.
In 2008, of New Jersey’s 590 road deaths, 371 were caused by a single-vehicle crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported.
And while single-vehicle crashes have been the leading cause of road deaths in New Jersey for at least the last five years, the percentage rose to a five-year high of 63% in 2008, the federal data show, which is up four percentage points from the five-year average of 59%.
“Even as we acknowledge progress toward safer roads last year and into this year, there’s clearly improvement to be made,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman David Weinstein said, noting that New Jersey traffic fatalities fell almost 19 percent last year. “Motorists can play an enormous role simply by just driving. Nothing else.”
Most drivers consider single-vehicle crashes as “freak accidents,” but in fact they involve numerous contributing factors that motorists can control. Distracted driving is chief among them. It increases the risks of single-vehicle and rear-end crashes, research shows.
Federal government studies show that distracted driving is the chief cause of vehicle crashes, accounting for 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes.
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