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Fatal car accidents hit four-year high in New Jersey

Although we are just a few days into 2012, the New Jersey State Police is likely already setting its agenda for the new year: determining why there were so many car accident deaths lasts year, and figuring out how to lower that number in the coming year.

In sum, 635 people were killed in 594 fatal car accidents in New Jersey in 2011, which is the most traffic fatalities in the state since 2007. The majority of the people who died were behind the wheel at the time of the crash, with 371 drivers killed. Pedestrian deaths were also high, with 144 fatalities. In addition, 103 passengers and 17 bicyclists were killed in accidents last year.

The State Police has not released much information about the fatal accidents or the people involved, but they did say that people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old were most likely to be killed in a crash last year.

Driver distraction and a lack of seat belts were cited as major reasons for the increase in fatalities. According to New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Brian Polite, the few seconds involved in checking cell phones can make the difference between a fatal accident and a close call.

Seat belt use has significantly increased among drivers and front-seat passengers in recent years, according to a survey conducted by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. However, adults riding in the backseat of cars only wore seat belts 35 percent of the time in 2010, likely contributing to the increase in traffic fatalities in recent years.

If a loved one has been killed in a New Jersey car accident, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: NJ.com, "2011 a lethal year on New Jersey's roadways, as 635 lose their lives," Christopher Baxter, Jan.1, 2012

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