Good news: NJ drivers aren’t so bad, report finds
This may be hard to believe, but the numbers don't lie. Using fatality data from the federal government, a new analysis finds Garden State drivers are among the best in the nation.
The report from Car Insurance Comparison uses statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, analyzing the cause of fatalities and the number of motor vehicle deaths per miles traveled.
Each state was given a score in each category below, and the higher the score, the better.
- Fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled;
- Percentage of fatal crashes involving 'failure to obey' infractions;
- Percentage of fatal crashes involving alcohol;
- Percentage of fatal crashes involving speeding; and
- Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities per 100,000 people.
New Jersey's score came in at 180, ranking sixth among the states. Only Minnesota (225), Ohio (196), Vermont (192), Iowa (190), Nebraska (186) and Virginia (183) fared better.
"We have good drivers in New Jersey who really are out there on the roads, doing their best everyday in what are some very challenging conditions," said Bob Gaydosh with the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety, reacting to the report.
According to Gaydosh, New Jersey had 556 motor vehicle fatalities in 2014, compared to 747 in 2005. Seat belt usage is also at a healthy rate in New Jersey, above 90 percent, Gaydosh said.
Gaydosh insisted drivers are responding to the state's aggressive traffic safety efforts, and the main concern right now is distracted driving caused by cell phones and other devices.
Jim Lardear of AAA Mid-Atlantic said New Jersey's highly-congested roads may have actually contributed to the pleasant findings.
"Motorists on congested roads are moving at a slower pace and there's less opportunity for high-speed crashes," Lardear said.
Montana received the worst overall scores, followed by South Carolina and New Mexico.
New Jersey drivers ranked 11th-best in 2014 in the same analysis.