The Truth About Jersey Drivers
There is a tongue-in-cheek list in circulation that purports to describe New Jersey drivers and our habits:
- Remember that the goal of every New Jersey driver is to get there first, by whatever means necessary.
- The faster you drive through a red light, the smaller your chance of getting hit.
- Speed limits are just suggestions and are not enforceable in New Jersey during rush hour.
- Potholes are a great way to practice high-speed slalom skills.
Funny or not, that list touches on an unfortunate reality. For the most part, traffic fatalities in New Jersey have been declining in recent years, but according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal New Jersey accidents in which speeding was a factor have nearly tripled since 2007.
There were 61 fatalities in the state from speed-related automobile accidents in 2007; by 2011 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), that number had reached 174. Monmouth County had the distinction of being the only county not to show an increase since 2007 — although its numbers did rise before coming back down in 2011. Ocean County, in contrast, went from just two speed-related fatalities to 12 in the same time period, an increase of 600 percent. The report does not specify how often speeding drivers were responsible for the death of others, but such circumstances are grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit by the survivors.
The National Safety Council (NSC) points out that nationally, injuries and fatalities related to other dangerous driving behaviors, such as driving while impaired, have been reduced, but speeding remains a problem. According to the NSC, surveys have found people believe the excessive speed of drivers around them is a significant threat to their safety. And yet, most admit to speeding themselves.