According to a Gannett New Jersey review of Department of Transportation crash data, New Jersey’s Safe Corridor program has produced an overall decline in motor vehicle accidents on some highways since it was implemented seven years ago.
New Jersey’s Safe Corridors program set aside 12 sections of state highways with high crash rates with the purpose of raising ticket costs and implementing engineering changes in order to reduce the rate of car accidents on those roadways. In those sections, certain fines were doubled in order to help fund engineering work and enforcement. The program was implemented in February 2004.
The overall decline in accidents was not across the board. The following is a portion of the data comparing car accidents in New Jersey Safe Corridors between 2004 and 2009:
• Route 206 in Somerset County: 10.96% increase
• Route 46 in Morris County: 10.88% decrease and three deaths in 2009
• Route 22 in Somerset County: 16.33% decrease
• Route 9 in Ocean and Middlesex Counties: 4.25 % decrease in crashes and a decrease in fatal accidents
• Route 1 from South Brunswick to Edison: 1.29% increase
• Route 9 from South Amboy to Lakewood: 4.25% decrease
• Route 73 in Camden and Burlington: 4.78% decrease
Factors affecting the data include an increase in traffic volume on some of the routes, as well as huge increase in distracted driving from cell phone use since 2004. According to President of New Jersey State Safety Council, several hundred thousand cell phone contracts have been added since 2004 and texting driving is currently at epidemic levels.
In our next post, we’ll continue to look at New Jersey’s Safe Corridor program.