Drunk driving deaths see a huge increase in New Jersey

Fatalities from drunk driving accidents rose by 27 percent in New Jersey in 2016, well ahead of the US average.

Recently released figures by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show a dramatic increase in drunk driving fatalities in New Jersey, according to NJ Advance Media. The figures show that in 2016 there was a 27 percent rise in fatal drunk driving accidents in the Garden State. Only three other states in the country saw more dramatic increases in drunk driving deaths. Furthermore, 2016 marks the third year in a row that has seen overall traffic fatalities rise following what had been long-term declines in such deaths.

Impaired driving deaths are up

The NHTSA figures show that 137 people died in New Jersey in 2016 in accidents where alcohol was a factor. That is a 27 percent increase over the 108 such deaths that had been reported the year before and it far exceeds the national increase. Nationwide, drunk driving deaths were up by just 1.7 percent. Furthermore, only three other states - Alaska, Iowa, and Vermont - saw bigger percentage increases in drunk driving deaths.

The figures are also a dramatic reversal of what had been the state of drunk driving just a few years ago. From 2014 to 2015, for example, drunk driving deaths in New Jersey had declined by 31 percent despite rising nationally by 3.2 percent. Given the continuing opioid epidemic combined with ongoing marijuana legalization efforts, police fear that the impaired driving problem will only get worse before it gets better.

Overall fatalities also increase

It wasn't just in the category of drunk driving deaths that New Jersey saw a worrying increase. In fact, overall traffic fatalities in the state increased by 7.1 percent in 2016, from 561 to 601, which was also in excess of the national average increase of 5.6 percent. This was also the third straight year in which traffic fatalities rose in New Jersey and was the steepest increase in that three-year period. Prior to that three-year increase, New Jersey traffic fatalities had been on a long-term downward trend, falling by 47 percent between 1975 and 2014.

However, while drunk driving has become a major concern on New Jersey's roads and highways yet again, nationwide traffic fatalities were up largely due to an increase in speeding, pedestrian deaths, and lack of seatbelt use.

Personal injury law

A motor vehicle accident can be a devastating experience, not least because of the financial burden such an accident often leads to. Medical bills, time off work, physiotherapy, and vehicle repair costs can all quickly add up and they can soon feel overwhelming. That's why anybody hurt in an accident should get in touch with a personal injury attorney right away. An experienced attorney will help clients with the various issues associated with the aftermath of the accident, including by assisting them with the claims process and holding accountable any other drivers, especially drunk drivers, who may have caused the accident.