According to statistics provided by New Jersey's Office of the Attorney General, 30 percent of all fatal car accidents in our state involve alcohol. That number is staggering. To honor loved ones who lost their lives to drunk driving, New Jersey families and officials recently gathered in Trenton for the second annual New Jersey Remembers ceremony.
It's probably no surprise to Mt. Laurel readers that underage drinkers are far more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers in the same age group. A recent study published in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs emphasizes the fact that age, alcohol and driving distractions play a significant role in fatal car accidents on the road. Is there a need for drunk driving and distracted driving prevention programs in New Jersey schools? The results of recent studies suggest so.
State police and highway traffic officials are trying to figure out why the number of fatal car accidents increased in New Jersey in 2011. Statewide, 82 more people were killed in traffic accidents than in 2010, and a staggering 52 of those fatalities were reported in Burlington County, up from 34 in the previous year. Across the state, 146 pedestrians were killed, reflecting an increase of five. In all of New Jersey, there were 638 people killed in 596 accidents. Why?
Readers in Burlington County know that drinking and driving can lead to serious ramifications, including not only financial penalties but also time behind bars for the offender. And too often drunk driving leads to car accidents in which victims are injured through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, two such local accidents occurred recently in New Jersey.The first accident happened early on Dec. 17 in Deptford. A 21-year-old man was charged with DWI and assault by auto after he lost control of his vehicle, causing it to strike a curb and overturn. The young man was accompanied by two passengers, and all were taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden. The extent of their injuries was unavailable at the time of a local news report.
It is always tragic when a person loses his or her life as the result of an accident, but when the person is young, and the accident is said to have been caused by another person's drunk driving, the tragedy becomes even more poignant. No New Jersey resident should have to lose a loved one in such a way, and no one should have to suffer serious personal injury because of a senseless car accident. With these problems in mind, Mount Laurel residents may recall one horrible automobile accident that occurred last year and resulted in one death and two injuries.
New Jersey residents may recall that back in July, a Burlington, New Jersey, woman suffered serious injuries in a car accident that occurred in Pennsylvania. According to reports, the 22-year-old driver of a dump truck smashed into a Toyota Scion operated by the Burlington woman. The man fled the scene of the accident, leaving a truck full of beer bottles and the victim fighting for her life. He turned himself in to authorities two days later and has waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of aggravated assault by vehicle and fleeing the scene of an accident with injuries. The case will soon go to trial. Both of the man's charges are third-degree felonies carrying prison sentences of up to seven years upon conviction.