Tragedies occur nearly every single day on the roads of New Jersey, but they don't have to. Motorists in the Garden State and across the nation are encouraged to join a day-long, nationwide effort on Wednesday that promotes safe driving behaviors and is meant to keep the state's roadways fatality-free.

Accident on Route 1 in April 2012 (WPVI TV)

October 10 is the 12th annual Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day. By encouraging motorists to obey all traffic laws  and avoid distractions, the initiative aims to achieve no lives lost for one full day.

"We hope that by shining the spotlight on this one day, we can help create good driving behaviors that can be carried over throughout the year," said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

He continued, "We're aiming for zero fatalities each and every day."

On October 10 of last year, there were zero lives lost on New Jersey's roads. However, an estimated 627 people died in motor vehicle-related crashes during all of last year. In 2010, the casualty count was 556.

This year's Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day comes on the heels of an alarming report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which found an estimated 16,290 people died in traffic crashes during just the first half of 2012. That is the largest number of fatalities in the first half of any year since the NHTSA started collecting data in 1975.