Traffic fatalities in New Jersey, and across the nation, are declining.

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Preliminary figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show traffic deaths this year, compared to 2012, have dropped 4.2 percent.

"In New Jersey, we've had 435 fatalities so far this year (numbers as of 11/05/13), and in 2012 there were 488, so the numbers are down a little over 10 percent," said Zach Hosseini, a spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

So why are the numbers dropping?

"People, especially over the last few years are wearing their seat belt more," he said. "I think in New Jersey we have one of the highest seatbelt usage rates in the country, 90 to 95 percent of folks wear their seatbelts here, and that's the number one preventer of major injuries is wearing your seat belt."

At the same time, he pointed out that you see people paying more attention to not drinking and driving.

"We have high visibility campaigns out there that focus on cracking down on drunk drivers," Hosseini said. "The main way to deter people is heavy enforcement, and that seems to be working."

"The way the technology has caught up with the speed of cars, I think it makes it so that it is safer to be in the car now and if you happen to have the misfortune of being in a crash - by and large you are better protected."