Car accident statistics bring good and bad news for drivers

Fatalities are down, but distracted driving remains a problem

The New Jersey State Police recently released statistics about the number of fatalities on New Jersey's roads and highways in 2013, according to the Press of Atlantic City. The figures bring a mix of good news and bad news for drivers in the state. While overall road fatalities are down in New Jersey, distracted driving continues to be the major factor in fatal collisions. In fact, driver inattention now outstrips drunken driving and speeding as the number one cause of fatal car accidents.

Overall decline in fatalities

In 2013, there were 508 fatal crashes in New Jersey costing the lives of 542 people, according to NJ Advance Media. That figure means 42 fewer people were killed on the state's roads and highways last year compared to 2012 and is also the second year in a row that traffic deaths have declined.

Perhaps more importantly, the figures represent a long-term downward trend over a 20-year period. Police say that as recently as a decade ago traffic fatalities were over 700 per year. Officials say the fewer fatalities are attributable to fewer instances of drunk driving and more people buckling up. New Jersey has the highest seatbelt-use rate in the nation at 93 percent.

Distracted driving a problem

The figures were not all good news, however. While overall New Jersey's roads are safer than they were a decade ago, the rise in the use of cellphones and other mobile devices means distracted driving has become a major factor in collisions. Distracted driving, which can include texting or talking on a cellphone, was the major factor in 164 fatal accidents, outstripping alcohol and speeding, which were the second and third most common factors with 143 and 82 crashes respectively.

Police say they will be working to bring down the distracted driving rate much as they have done to bring down the drunk driving statistics. Numerous studies have shown that cellphone use while driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving.

Distracted driving accidents

These latest statistics, overall, offer reassuring news to drivers throughout New Jersey. However, the fact that distracted driving is now the leading cause of fatal car accidents should raise concerns for many motorists. Far too often, a driver who chooses to talk on his cellphone while driving can end up causing years of pain and suffering for other innocent people on the road.

Anybody who has been injured by a distracted driver should get in contact with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help victims fight for any compensation they may be due, which can go a long way in helping to cope with the injuries and expenses that often arise following a serious car accident.