A New Jersey State Police report on fatal crashes in the Garden State in 2014 serves as a stark reminder that not paying attention while driving can be fatal.

Despite awareness campaigns and laws against talking on a hand-held cell phone or texting while behind the wheel distracted driving-related deaths rose from 2013-2014.

“There were a total of 523 fatal crashes in 2014, killing 556 people. Driver inattention was a factor for 190 of those crashes,” said NJ State Police Sgt. Jeff Flynn.

Those numbers represent an increase of 15 crashes and 14 fatalities, resulting in an average of 1.52 motor vehicle fatalities per day in New Jersey. The report shows 2014 marked the fifth straight year that driver inattention was the leading factor in fatal accidents.

“We’re always looking at these numbers and looking at ways that we can improve our numbers,” Flynn said.

Other statistics included:

  • Nationwide, the fatality rate remained at a historic low of 1.46 fatalities per hundred million vehicle miles traveled.
  • Nationwide preliminary statistics indicate there were 32,675 people killed.
  • Of the New Jersey fatalities, 31.3 percent had consumed alcohol to some extent.
  • Of all drivers, 12.2 percent were legally intoxicated.
  • There were 60 fatal crashes involving 62 motorcycles.
  • Pedalcyclists accounted for 11 fatal crashes.
  • The pedestrian death toll was 170.

With 57 motor vehicle crash fatalities, August was the deadliest month. February saw the fewest, with 31. Monmouth County had the most with 45 followed by Ocean County at 44. Hunterdon and Warren Counties had the fewest with six each. At 94 motor vehicle accident deaths, Saturday was the most fatal day of the week.

The full report is below:

Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at kevin.mcardle@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.