An article in Forbes magazine once announced that New Jersey had the second-worst drivers in the country. QuoteWizard, a service used by insurance agents, calls New Jersey the fourth-worst state for drivers in their 2020 annual best and worst drivers by state report.
The good news is that it did not rank as in the top four most accident-prone, lead-footed or drunkest-driving states, nor was it included in the top five states for worst driving habits. Statistics show that the leading causes of accidents, injuries and fatalities in New Jersey are driving while distracted, bad driving behavior, drunk driving and speeding.
Distracted driving accidents fall into three basic categories:
- Eyes off the road
- Hands off the wheel
- Mind off driving
The distractions commonly include eating, daydreaming and talking to passengers. The worst distraction by a wide margin is cell phone use.
Bad driving behavior
In 2020, despite having fewer cars on the road, New Jersey traffic fatalities rose by 5% over the year before. While that is not a statistic one might expect, the state blame this increase on bad driving behavior during the pandemic. People appeared to be venting their frustrations in the form of road rage and aggressive driving.
Drunk drivers and pedestrians
Drunk driving accidents are usually the result of impaired reaction time or failure to focus on operating the vehicle. In accidents between cars and pedestrians, the pedestrian is often the drunk one, not the driver.
High-speed accidents can increase the severity of injuries and the chances of a fatality. According to New Jersey state police, unsafe speed is second only to distracted driving as the leading cause of accidents.
Anger, frustration and alcohol are dangerous things behind the wheel, but statistics show that cell phone use can be the most lethal.