New Jersey officials said overall traffic-related fatalities in the state for the first six months of 2012 were 262 — down 10 percent from 291 during the same time last year.
However, the 2012 figure is slightly higher than at the same point in 2010 when there were 256 fatalities.
New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety said there were near across-the-board decreases in traffic-related fatalities so far in 2012 compared to last year. Looking more in depth at the first-six-months numbers of 2012 compared to the same period last year: the number of fatalities for drivers fell from 170 to 149; passenger fatalities declined from 50 to 43; pedestrian deaths are down from 65 to 61; motorcycle fatalities are down from 49 to 28. Only bicyclists fatalities saw an uptick, from six to nine.
“We are encouraged by the decline in traffic-related fatalities thus far,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “But the only way to keep these numbers heading in the right direction during this upcoming holiday week is for our motorists to practice safe driving habits: obey the speed limits, always wear your seatbelt and never drive distracted or drink and drive.”
Officials Urge Drivers to Stay Safe on July 4th
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety urged drivers to stay safe on the roads during the July 4th holiday – roads that are expected to be heavily trafficked.
Division Director Poedubicky noted that nine people lost their lives in crashes on New Jersey’s roads during the five-day July 4th holiday period last year. Three of deaths were alcohol related.
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) expects this July 4th holiday period to be one the busiest in recent memory for New Jersey motorists.
Tracy Noble, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, reported that 1.1 million New Jerseyans were expected to drive more than 50 miles for their vacations during the holiday period. That number is an increase of 3.2 percent from 2011 and is the highest it has been since 2007. Noble also said that the total number of travelers motoring their way to vacation is expected to increase 4 percent from last year to 1.3 million.
Noble said the swell in expected travel volume is a result of shrinking prices at the pump.
“We have seen gas prices decline for 10 weeks and the price per gallon is down about 60 cents from last year,” Noble said. “People are now starting to get back into gear with traveling.”