There have been 76 fatalities on New Jersey roadways so far this year — a significant drop from the 93 New Jersey had seen at this same time last year.

That statistic, from New Jersey State Police, represents a decrease of 18.3 percent. There were 84 roadway fatalities at this time in 2015.

According to Tracy Noble, public affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic, it’s impossible to say for sure what’s causing the decrease, but “one thing that we need to keep in mind is that this year the winter has been very mild. we have not had many snow or ice events, and that typically keeps the crash ratio down.”

She said road conditions play a large part, "because when we have icy conditions, people do tend to have crashes. They do skid out of control, then they over-correct. People are inexperienced and then they tend to get in trouble.”

Noble also said it’s not clear if the fatal crash rate has dropped because people are finally getting the message that fooling around with their mobile phones while driving is dangerous.

“Hopefully the message is getting across and people are driving less distracted, but unfortunately we still know that some people are in fact driving distracted," she said.

Noble stressed a drop in fatalities is certainly good news, however “what is still alarming is the fact that of those numbers, of those 76 fatalities, 24 of them were pedestrians, and that’s a high number.”

In fact, she pointed out the ratio of pedestrian deaths in New Jersey has been high for the past several years.

So why aren’t people stopping for pedestrians the way they’re supposed to?

“This has been a subject of various debates for several years, because pedestrian fatalities have increased — 24 pedestrian deaths is significant," she said.

Officials are investigating one such death that occurred this weekend — when a 13-year-old girl was struck and killed by an off-duty state trooper in Westfield. Authorities have not yet said what they believe led to that crash, and no one has been charged so far.

Nobleadded it’s disturbing that some drivers still don’t seem to understand “if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk or if they’re at a marked intersection, they do in fact have the right of way.”

Noble stressed pedestrians in New Jersey always need to be very careful, even if they have the right of way.

“It’s because you can’t expect vehicles to just stop, and if that’s the case, unfortunately the pedestrian usually loses,” she said.

She also stressed it’s important for pedestrians to not attempt to cross streets if they don’t have the walk signal, or if they’re not at a crosswalk area.

Other NJSP Fatal Accident Investigation Unit Data (through March 6, 2017) :


Fatal crashes
2017: 74
2016: 88
2015: 81

Roadway fatalities
2017: 76 (40 drivers, 8 passengers, 4 pedal/cyclists, 24 pedestrians)
2016: 93 (47 drivers, 17 passengers, 0 pedal/cyclists, 29 pedestrians)
2015: 84 (40 drivers, 16 passengers, 0 pedal/cyclists, 28 pedestrians)


You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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