So far this year 502 people have died on Garden State roads.

Data from the New Jersey State Police shows that 563 passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians were killed on New Jersey roads last year, compared to 624 in 2017, a drop of more than 9%.

“That’s good that we’re trending in the right direction but there’s always things that we can do to make roads safer," said Steve Schapiro, the spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, which is developing a plan to keep people safe on the roads.

The department is holding 2020 Jersey Strategic Highway Safety Plan summits with stakeholders in transportation, law enforcement, emergency response and healthcare. The first summit was held in November, a second one is planned for January and a third will take place next spring so that the Safety Plan can be completed by the summer of 2020.

The Federal Highway Administration requires this kind of strategic safety plan be developed every five years.

“We’re going to look at a lot of different aspects [in[ safety data and trends. We’re going to develop performance goals and objectives, looking at specific areas of emphasis," Schapiro said.

Those areas of emphasis will include distracted driving, aggressive driving, vehicle safety features and safer infrastructure.

The 2020 Strategic Highway Safety Plan website is at www.saferoadsforallnj.com

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Sign up for the NJ1015.com Newsletter

Get the best of NJ1015.com delivered to your inbox every day.