Traffic fatalities on the rise in New Jersey: State Police

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New Jersey State Police statistics show that more than600 people died in traffic fatalities last year in the Garden State, a slight rise over the previous year and the most deaths since 2011, NJ Advance Media reported.

Data released Thursday shows 607 people died in 2016 from traffic fatalities in New Jersey, 45 more than the 562 deaths in 2015. There were 556 traffic fatalities recorded in 2014.

Of the deaths last year, more than half — 333 — were driving the vehicle, and 90 were passengers. Another 18 cyclists and 166 pedestrians were also victims in fatal crashes.

Additionally, six drivers under the age of 18 died in fatal crashes, as di 64 who were over the age of 65.

N.J. State Trooper Lawrence Peel said multiple factors contribute to fatal accidents, including “distracted driving, driving while intoxicated or additional distractions in the vehicle.”

Peel said in bringing the numbers down, “it’s a shared responsibility” between police and drivers, adding that drivers should slow down, practice proper seatbelt use and refrain from aggressive behavior on the road.

With 50 fatal accidents in 2016, Burlington County had the highest rate in the state. The county is home to one of the state’s most dangerous roadways: Route 130, where pedestrians often try to cross high-speed lanes and jump concrete barriers.

Middlesex and Monmouth counties followed closely, with 49 fatalities each.

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