Top Not So Terrifying Tips for Halloween: Driving, Pedestrian Safety & Premises Liability

As a kick-off to the end of the year seasonal fun, Halloween is a treat for costumed children eager to stock up on tasty sweets and families hoping to share the holiday fun with their neighbors and other community members.

Top Not So Terrifying Tips for Halloween in NJ: Driving, Pedestrian Safety & Premises LiabilityWhile children will focus on the excitement, compare costumes, and fun of the day, parents and caregivers will need to be extra vigilant about speeding or negligent and distracted drivers on the road, to ensure the evening ends as a happy and safe holiday for everyone, motorists included. Although this year some families may opt for fewer trick-or-treating hours, avoiding going in large groups or staying closer to home due to COVID-19 fears, fewer costumed children on the streets may make it easier for motorists to keep an eye out for especially little children darting into the street, crossing through parking lots, stopping suddenly in the street to pick up dropped items or walking unsupervised in small groups along the streets.

Halloween has been referred to as the ‘perfect storm’ of risk, because of the limited visibility as a result of darkness or poorly lit streets, significant pedestrian traffic, and various other distractions. According to 42 years of data examined by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics the risk of pedestrian fatalities is roughly 43% higher on Halloween. As compared to other times of the year, the most significant risk and the increase was among children ages 4-8 years, where there was a 10-fold increase in Halloween pedestrian fatalities.

The New Jersey State Police listed the top factors in fatal pedestrian accidents as distracted driving, impaired driving, and speed. Between January 1 to October 6, 2021, more than 141 pedestrians have been killed in accidents with motor vehicles. According to recent NHTSA data, that is a 13.1% increase in pedestrian fatalities over this time in 2020.

If you or a loved one was recently hit and injured or killed by a vehicle, you may be able to file a pedestrian accident injury or wrongful death claim against that vehicle’s driver. At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson (KCR), our dependable lawyers have decades of experience handling personal injury claims for clients across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We know how difficult these cases are, and we do our best to provide compassionate and thorough legal representation for the family of the victim. When someone is killed, he or she leaves behind a huge emotional gap, and our job is to get fair compensation from the responsible parties to allow the family to heal and to provide for their future.

Typical Accident Injuries Which Make Halloween Dangerous For Children and Adults

Common accidents and injuries that occur on Halloween are:

How Pedestrians Can Avoid Being Injured While Trick-or-Treating During Halloween in New Jersey

In accordance with NJ Rev Statute 39:4-36 and Title 75, Chapter 35 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk. On Halloween, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that pedestrians:

  • Halloween Pedestrian Accidents in New Jerseyfollow the rules of the road and intersections, crossing only at the corner and observing traffic signals
  • make sure traffic has stopped or passed by before stepping into the street
  • walk on the sidewalk if one is available and walk as far to the side as safely possible facing traffic if there isn’t
  • wear light or brightly colored costumes that are clearly visible to motorists
  • wear sturdy shoes which fit properly
  • make sure costumes are short enough to prevent one from tripping or falling over
  • trim or decorate the moving parts of the costumes (arms, legs, feet) and treat bags/candy containers with reflective tape which will glow or strongly reflect in the beam of a car’s headlights
  • carry a flashlight or strobe light to aid motorists in detecting, identifying, and reacting to them

With pedestrians over 21, for whom alcohol may play a role in their Halloween festivities and impair judgment, balance, and reaction time, it is recommended that they create a “buddy system” and plan a way to get home safely (i.e., designated driver, rideshare, arrange a safe spot to be picked up, etc).

8 Things Motorists Can Do To Make the Roads Safer For Halloween Pedestrians in NJ

A USDOT review of Pedestrian Safety Research in the US and Abroad stated that parents overestimate their children’s ability to handle street crossings in terms of what they know and how well they will perform. This study cited earlier research that indicated that roughly 75 percent of child pedestrian-related automobile accidents occurred at non-intersection locations, and that number increased to 85-90% among children under 5; who were most likely to run into the street at midblock locations.

The other group highest at risk during Halloween according to the NHTSA, are younger drivers (21-34 years old), who are often inattentive, drowsy, and accounted for nearly half of all deaths in drunk-driving/DWI crashes on Halloween night.

With this in mind, during the early evening and late hours of Halloween, drivers should:

  • be prepared to stop for children crossing the streets even if they’re not at an intersection
  • drive below the speed limit in residential areas to give themselves more time to react
  • reduce or eliminate audio distractions like the radio or the telephone
  • exercise extreme caution when entering or exiting driveways, alleys, driving into a parking lot, backing out, or turning
  • contact law enforcement personnel if they see an impaired, drunk, or injured person on the road
  • keep their windows and side mirrors clean
  • make sure their headlights are on and properly functioning
  • not drink and drive.

Avoiding Liability on Mischief Night Or Halloween: Duty of Care for Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween and Premises Liability attorneys, Trenton NJ As a homeowner or landlord, you may find yourself liable if any injuries or accidents are caused by the condition of your property. As such you have a duty of care to make your property, walkways, or premises are reasonably safe for trick-or-treaters and even those who may trespass onto your property.

Either because of decorations or signage on your property which can be seen as an invitation, “premises liability” means you are legally liable for the safety of any “guests” injured on your property. Since your “guests” expect your property to be reasonably safe, if they are injured by a dangerous condition on your property that you knew or should have known about, and you failed to remedy or warn of them of, you could be held liable for damages.

As such, if a trick-or-treater or an adult supervising them slips, trips, or falls on your property, your bodily injury liability coverage may be sufficient. So, to improve your home’s safety and reduce your premises liability:

  • be mindful of the type of decorations you have and where they are placed
  • use battery-powered light sources for decorations
  • avoid dry combustible materials like corn husks
  • keep all entrances and exits free from obstructions
  • keep pets away from the front door, as unknown sounds or sights can overwhelm them
  • make sure the external area of the property is properly lit so children and adults can see the path to and from your door or container of treats, and
  • even if you’re not participating in trick-or-treating, turn off the exterior lighting and keep all walkways clear so children who may still knock at your door, may safely enter and exit your property.

NOTE: In cases of Mischief Night mayhem, most basic homeowners’ policies cover damages to your home caused by vandalism.

What To Do If You are Injured on Residential or Commercial Property During Halloween

  • seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • use your mobile phone to photograph and accurately document the scene and any conditions (i.e., decorations, lighting, etc) that contributed to the injury accident
  • collect the names and contact details of any witnesses
  • inform the homeowner, landlord, or property manager of your injury but limit discussions that could verbally or physically escalate the incident
  • contact an experienced personal injury accident attorney
  • DO NOT sign any liability waivers or medical release forms prior to consulting an attorney

Our attorneys at KCR can assist in alleviating your stress by dealing with the insurance companies so you can focus on getting better and getting the help you need. If you have been injured, contact our firm to discuss your case and representation for your personal injury claim.

Consult our Personal Injury Accident Lawyers in Trenton or East Brunswick Today

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our dependable and compassionate lawyers have more than 40 years of experience handling pedestrian, auto accidents, and personal injury claims for clients across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We understand the nuances of each state’s traffic and liability laws and are well-informed about pertinent changes thereto. If you trick-or-treat in the streets of Titusville, Pennington, Fairless Hills, Newtown, Hopewell, Princeton, or Florence and need our services, don’t be scared and contact us.

Our resourceful attorneys are poised to prepare and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries on Halloween or any other day of the year if someone else is responsible. We have decades of experience handling personal injury lawsuits on behalf of the injured and their loved ones, as we passionately commit ourselves to advocating for clients every step of the way and navigating the pitfalls of these complex legal matters. Contact us online or by phone today at (609) 528-2596 from New Jersey or (215) 337-4915 to arrange a consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury lawyer.

As always, we take the majority of cases on contingency. This means, if we don’t win, you don’t pay.

Worst States to Drive – New Jersey and Pennsylvania Make the List

Learn more about what one report found about some of the country’s best – and worst – places to own and operate a vehicle.

Worst States to Drive - New Jersey and Pennsylvania Make the ListWhat makes a good place to drive? Well, WalletHub has developed 31 key metrics across four main categories for determining which are the best – and which are the worst – states in which to drive. In its 2021 annual report Best & Worst States to Drive, Wallet Hub compared states across the four categories of traffic and infrastructure, cost of ownership and maintenance, safety, and access to autos and auto maintenance. Some of the breakout metrics include road quality, rush hour traffic, the prevalence of auto mechanics, auto maintenance costs, and average gas prices.

So how did Pennsylvania and New Jersey rank? Well, according to the report, New Jersey is the 42nd best state to drive in according to WalletHub’s 31 key metrics — this means that it’s the 9th worst state in which to drive. This might come as a surprise to some urban New Jersey drivers, who could expect a much poorer showing, given the extent of some areas’ rush hours and the size of potholes to be found. Pennsylvania ranked a bit higher, despite climate challenges creating rough road conditions and dense traffic in packed cities like Philly, The slightly better ranking could even be a surprise to some of Pennsylvania’s rural drivers, who enjoy municipal care for roadways and not a lot of traffic, and would expect the ranking to be more generous.

Overall, the top five states to operate and own a vehicle in the United States are Iowa, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, and Nebraska. These rankings are largely due to the sprawling countrysides that certainly helped out the rush hour statistics; and the states also have quality road conditions, relatively low gas prices, and manageable auto insurance rates.

What about the Worst States?

On the flip side of things are the country’s five worst states in which to drive: Hawaii (worst), followed by Rhode Island, Washington, California, and Colorado. The myriad of reasons for such low scores includes exorbitant gas prices (Hawaii, as you could imagine), rush hours from hell (California), and spotty road conditions (Colorado, due largely to inclement weather).

Read on for further facts on where to drive (hint: you’re not so bad off in Pennsylvania, and you’re practically doomed if you’re in New Jersey).

WalletHub reported that California is the state with the most auto repair garages in relation to its population. The state with the fewest? Hawaii.

While the report focused on intrastate competition for car ownership and operation quality, WalletHub did note some interesting country-wide statistics. Of the 195 countries on the planet, the United States ranks 17th in its road quality.

What about the Gas Prices?

As far as gas prices are concerned, where is the best place to drive if you want to save on your fill-up? Mississippi, at $2.91 per gallon. As noted above, Hawaii took the cake for the highest gas prices at $3.66 per gallon. Currently, Pennsylvania’s regular gas prices are $3.34 per gallon. New Jersey currently averages $3.22.

What happens when it comes to Insurance Coverage?

Auto Insurance Coverage in NJ and PAAnd where insurance is concerned, you’ll want to avoid Michigan for auto insurance rates — the yearly average quote is a whopping $2,611, in comparison to the state with the lowest average rate, Maine, whose car insurance weighs in at $845 (full coverage). Bankrate placed the Pennsylvania auto insurance average at $427 for the most basic coverage and $1,476 for full coverage. The group noted that the average annual premiums in Pennsylvania are beneath that of the national averages. This has to do with many factors, including the fact that the state requires all vehicle owners to have basic liability coverage, as well as the fact that the state’s insurance providers augment or decrease their premiums based on such driver factors like age and driving history. As far as New Jersey is concerned, Bankrate placed New Jersey auto insurance average at $847 for the state minimum coverage and $1757 for average full coverage.

So are there ways around accepting that Pennsylvania and New Jersey are some of the worst states to drive in in the country? Not really. While there is an influx of ride-sharing options, and private and public transportation options are always available, the winter weather makes it difficult for municipalities to keep up with repairing ice- and sleet-created potholes; and, despite options for public or shared transportation, in this pandemic-era period, many people are opting to take their own vehicle on the roads.

You can help improve the states’ standings in small ways like being a safe, defensive driver, and carpooling where available. Switch to a hybrid or electric automobile if it’s financially possible for you. Walk or bike to work, or work from home and hitch a ride with a friend you’re going out to meet for drinks. Together, we can make Pennsylvania a safer and more pleasurable place to drive, at least by a bit.

The most common types of injuries that result from motor vehicle accidents in NJ and PA

The following are common injuries associated with vehicular accidents. Though this list is expansive, it by no represents all of the types of injuries that can occur.

  • Bruising/Contusions- It is important to note that even the most minor of car accidents can cause bruises. Even seat belts, which are designed to you from serious harm, can leave you with varying degrees of bruising.
  • Whiplash- The myriad of forces that occur in a motor vehicle accident can cause your body to move in ways that can be very harmful and traumatic. An experience of pain or discomfort in the neck and back after a collision can mean that you have sustained whiplash; strains to your muscles and ligaments. These strains can be painful and take several weeks to recover, however, whiplash rarely results in permanent injury on its own.
  • Neck/Back injuriesAs is the case with whiplash, the intense and rapid force that your body sustains during a collision may cause serious damage to your body that may not be immediately apparent. These may include herniation or ruptures of the discs in your spine. This type of serious injury can be very painful and limit your mobility. Though not always permanent, these types of injuries often take a long time to heal.
  • ConcussionsDuring any collision, a concussion is a risk given that one can easily hit their head on parts of a car. In fact, sudden movement of the head with no impact can also cause a concussion. It is important to remember that prompt treatment for any kind of head injury is crucial.
  • Traumatic Brain InjuriesThese types of injuries are always serious and can have potentially life-altering effects. Any traumatic brain injury can change the way your brain functions, handles information, and processes emotions. Although, thanks to advances in modern medicine, one can recover from a brain injury to some degree, depending on the type and severity of the damage, treating it may be a lifelong process.
  • Post-traumatic Stress DisorderWith anyone who undergoes a situation of extreme stress – as is the case with a serious car accident – there is always the potential to develop emotional and mental conditions such as PTSD. Symptoms may include being scared of driving after an accident, avoiding certain sounds or images that are associated with the collision or even sleeping problems due to anxiety or nightmares.

If you have been involved in an automobile-related accident or injury, it is important that you are backed up by a personal injury lawyer.

Contact our Personal Injury Attorney for a free confidential consultation at our Bensalem, PA or Trenton, NJ Offices

In the unfortunate event of going through a car accident, it is advisable to contact a personal injury lawyer who knows the paths available for you and your loved ones, you do not have to struggle with all the processes yourself when you can count on the expertise of a Personal Injury attorney. If all the steps are properly followed, the option of getting compensation is there for you, let an attorney at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson guide you from the beginning of your case.

Our team of attorneys has lots of experience dealing with car accident-related injuries and the corresponding compensation if applicable. Our conveniently located offices in Pennsylvania allow us to serve clients in Croydon, Bristol, Levittown, Langhorne, and Philadelphia, while our New Jersey offices cover towns throughout the state, including Hamilton, Trenton, Princeton, New Brunswick, Somerville, Edison, and surrounding cities.

Call 609-528-2596 after your incident resulting in accident injuries. Let’s discuss your options and explore the ways we can be of assistance.

Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?

When an accident happens and you file a personal injury suit, the other driver will often claim that it was the weather’s fault for the crash and not their own.

Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?However, unless the weather was perfect at the time of the crash, it can be seen in New Jersey courts as a contributor to a car accident.  And even when the weather is perfect, other factors, like the setting sun in the driver’s eyes or the lack of light on a dark street, can influence a case. In reality, nearly all accidents are influenced by an exterior problem that made it more difficult—even slightly more difficult—to drive a vehicle.

However, that does not mean that every crash was avoidable or that every driver was without fault. Conditions like snow or ice do not excuse poor driving. On the contrary, poor conditions like these actually require drivers to exercise even greater caution and be even more attentive. A good lawyer knows this and refuses to let a driver off the hook when they caused a crash that hurt you, even if they claim that bad weather was to blame.

How Do Car Accident Lawsuits Work?

Car accident lawsuits are actually a type of personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are brought by people who have been hurt by someone else’s negligence and want to be compensated for their losses.
Personal injury claims must include each of the following four components:

1. The person they are suing owed them a legal duty to keep them safe or out of harm’s way.
2. That person did not uphold this legal duty.
3. This failure was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
4. The plaintiff was, in fact, hurt in the accident.

Driver’s Have a Legal Duty to Keep Others Safe

Anybody who drives a car owes a legal duty to drive reasonably safely for the conditions found on the road. Determining what constitutes “reasonable safe driving” in any given circumstance can be difficult. However, some basic guidelines obviously need to be followed, including:

• Driving at a speed that is neither too slow nor too fast.
• Obeying traffic laws.
• Keeping a safe distance from the car in front.
• Being attentive enough for potential hazards to avoid them before creating an accident.

Even in pristine driving conditions, determining whether someone was driving reasonably safely can be difficult. For example, if someone was going five miles per hour over the speed limit, but so was everyone else on the road, does that automatically make them unsafe? In many cases, it falls to the jury to decide whether a driver’s conduct on the road was reasonably safe or not.

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver’s Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver's Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?A driver’s legal duty to keep others safe on the road has this important aspect: they must adapt to road conditions. For example, someone driving at the speed limit and staying a two-car lengths’ distance from the car in front of them would be driving reasonably safely when the sun is shining. But when the roads are icy and snowing, that probably won’t be safe enough. So instead, the road conditions require the driver to slow down even more and increase their following distance.

When the weather is bad and driving conditions poor, drivers are legally required to adapt to ensure others’ safety on the road. However, when they fail to adapt their driving technique to the conditions they face, they can be held liable for the accidents they cause.

Poor Weather Does Not Take The Blame For Poor Driving

So, if you get hurt in a car accident in New Jersey, and the other driver claims they aren’t responsible because the weather was terrible, be assured that the weather does not automatically absolve them of their role in the crash. While the weather might have been horrible—icy roads, heavy rain, snow, or fog that reduced visibility, stiff gusts of wind that made it difficult to steer—drivers still have a legal responsibility to drive in a manner that is reasonably safe for those exact conditions. In other words, if the driver were driving the way he or she would in perfect conditions, then they were likely failing to uphold their responsibility to keep others safe.

In Sum, Bad Weather Demands Better Driving

When a potentially negligent driver tries to blame the weather for their role in a car accident that harmed you, it is often an attempt to avoid liability—that will fail. In summary, poor weather conditions actually require better and safer driving techniques than would have been necessary with nice weather.

Consult with Personal Injury Attorneys

The car accident and personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson are accustomed to drivers claiming that the crash was the weather’s fault and not their own. But our attorneys can turn these claims back against them and use them to convince a jury that bad road conditions required the driver to drive even more safely than normal.

Using these legal tactics, we can fight for your interests, both in the courtroom with the jury and outside the courtroom with insurance companies.

With us fighting for you, you can be confident that everything will be done to ensure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve after the crash that hurt you.

Contact us at (609) 528-2596 in New Jersey if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident and the other driver blames the weather.

Car Accident History Reports and What They Mean for Your Car Accident Claim

The goal of any insurance claim or personal injury claim is to provide proper healthcare and financially restore the victim as much as possible.

Car Accident History Reports and What They Mean for Your Car Accident ClaimAny time a person is injured or suffers property damage in a car accident, they will most likely want to seek compensation for their damages through either a car insurance claim or a car accident injury claim against any responsible parties, with the goal of these claims being to restore themselves financially to their pre-car accident state.

In terms of injury compensation, the injured party’s own insurance coverage and policy will usually be the biggest determining factor when it comes to how much injury damage they are covered for, and how much will need to be sought from the insurance policies of any other drivers potentially responsible for the accident (discussed in detail in our article several weeks ago).

Compensation for property damage is handled in a very similar matter, but a relatively new aspect that car accident victims are having to contend with is the increasing prevalence of car accident history reports like Carfax, VehicleHistory.com, and DMV reports.

Today’s article will focus on how these accident history reports and their increasing availability and use may actually be causing even more property damage to car accident victims, and what options are at your disposal when it comes to mitigating and seeking compensation for these added damages if you have been involved in a car accident.

Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers and “The Value of Your Car after an Accident”

As previously mentioned, the goal of any insurance claim or personal injury claim is to restore the victim of any kind of accident to a pre-accident state financially. When it comes to car accidents, this used to be relatively straightforward when it came to damages to the vehicle itself. In the case of the total loss of the vehicle, the car accident victim could simply refer to car appraisal guides like Kelly Blue Book, input the make, model, year, mileage, options, and features of their car and obtain a very accurate estimate for the value of their car.

However, as private buyers and dealerships increasingly factor in vehicle accident history reports when making a purchase, the simple fact that your car was involved in an accident can significantly reduce its value, even if it was repaired to its pre-accident state. If any kind of buyer is presented with the option of buying two identical cars, but one has been involved in an accident, and the other has not, 9 times out 10 that buyer will elect to purchase the vehicle that has no history of the accident.

This truth means that your car fundamentally no longer has the same value it would have had it not been involved in an accident, even if that accident only caused minor or superficial damage to your vehicle, or even if your vehicle was completely repaired in terms of its performance, safety, and appearance.

Adding Vehicle History Damages to a Mercer County Car Accident Claim

Adding Vehicle History Damages to a Mercer County Car Accident ClaimConsidering now that the mere fact your vehicle was involved in an accident can severely diminish its value, we must ask “what can a car accident victim do about this?”.

Unfortunately, current New Jersey court precedents have more or less established that car accident victims seeking compensation for this kind of damage from their own insurance company (known as a first-party claim) can, and usually will be, denied compensation for the damage done to their vehicle in the form of car accident history reports.

On the other hand, plaintiffs have found much more success when including this kind of damage as part of a third-party claim, that is to say, claims for damages against another driver and their insurance policy provider. In addition, in situations where the negligent driver is uninsured, or their insurance is not enough to cover these damages (under-insured), then the driver who is seeking damages can instead do so through their own uninsured/under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage, at which point compensation for damages done to a vehicle due to its involvement in an accident and subsequent inclusion in car history reports may actually be able to be recovered.

Like any claim for compensation, be it for injuries or for property damage, a claim seeking damages for the diminished value of your car due to its involvement in a car accident will need to be supported by evidence, and for these kinds of damages specifically, expert testimony is the most often relied upon the type of evidence to substantiate these damages. However, expert testimony costs money, so if the diminished value of your car is of similar value to the cost of expert testimony, at the end of the day it may not be worth actually pursuing compensation for these kinds of damages. On the other hand, if your car was a collectible or some kind of high-end luxury car, the value of these damages to your car can often be extremely high, making it much more worthwhile to seek compensation for its diminished value.

Contact Our Trenton Car Accident Claims Attorneys Today

Any time you are seeking compensation for injury damages or property damages, be it from a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, a slip and fall, a premises liability claim, or any other kind of accident, possibly the most important thing you can do is to retain the counsel of an experienced Mercer County accident and injury attorney in order to better understand your options, help you gather and present the evidence necessary to support your claim, and ultimately help you and your family secure the compensation you need and deserve for the damages you have suffered.

Contact Our Mercer County Car Accident Claims Attorneys TodayAt the Law Office of Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in all manner of a car accident and personal injury claims in towns across New Jersey and Mercer County, including East Brunswick, Princeton, Hamilton, Lawrence, and Trenton. Practicing law since 1972, our firm has carefully refined our ability to provide effective, knowledgeable, and attentive representation to each of our clients, with our ultimate goal being to work closely with our clients and their families in a wide range of legal matters including personal injury, workers’ compensation, and municipal and criminal court defense.

To speak with our attorney team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any kind of accident and the resulting damages to your life, and how we can help you to recover full and fair compensation for these damages, please contact us online, or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.

Decline in Traffic Fatalities During Covid-19 Pandemic

According to a CBS This Morning report, more than 20 states saw a marked drop in fatalities caused by car accidents between March and May

Decline in Traffic Fatalities During Covid-19 PandemicThe Covid-19 pandemic that has wrought havoc on the entire planet has adversely impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Our physical, emotional, social, and financial lives have been put in jeopardy; and we have had to orient ourselves to new systems of operation. While the lockdowns caused by the pandemic have had many difficult effects on our lives, one positive thing has come out of the removal of cars from the road: there has been a drastic decline in traffic-related automobile accidents causing fatalities across the country.

According to a CBS This Morning report, more than 20 states saw a marked drop in fatalities caused by car accidents between March and May, during which many states and local governments were implementing stay-at-home orders. Most notable among the statistics of declining fatalities gathered by the CBS This Morning report was an 84 percent decline in fatalities on highways in California. Because that state, in particular, drove home a message that it was imperative not to drive unless absolutely necessary in order to provide space on the roads for emergency responders to field calls related to the Coronavirus, traffic was greatly reduced, and fatal accidents fell with them.

What About New Jersey Traffic Accident and Fatality Statistics?

New Jersey also has seen a serious drop in reported auto fatalities during this trying time, reportedly reaching 50-year lows. This pattern in New Jersey and the country is welcome news, but it is a stark turnaround from before the pandemic. According to the New Jersey State Police, traffic fatality patterns had been steady for years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 96 percent of the vehicles involved in US traffic accidents in 2014 were passenger vehicles, and in 2014 over 21,000 people died across the country in traffic accidents involving passenger vehicles. Additionally, that year, a startling 2.07 million people were injured in passenger vehicle accidents. Given that accident fatality numbers have stayed fairly steady – as in high – over the past 5 years before the pandemic (seeing a drop of only 3 percent from 2015-2018 data), we are left to wonder whether patterns will simply return to the dangerous ‘normal’ after the pandemic has subsided.

Counties like Bergen, Middlesex, and Essex have historically been the counties with the most traffic accidents; can the 35 percent decline of traffic fatalities reported in April 2020 when compared to April 2019 be maintained in high accident areas, and all areas around New Jersey?

Not necessarily at all, warns the New Jersey State Police. In fact, while NJSP records show that the rate of fatalities from auto accidents has declined by 9 percent overall compared to 2019, this drop is not as sharp as it could be. Traffic in New Jersey has decreased by 62 percent during the first months of the pandemic, so a 9 percent decrease in fatalities actually shows that some drivers are taking advantage of the emptier roads to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding that have resulted in additional traffic deaths.

Increase in risky behavior on roadways can prove dangerous during Covid-19

What is the People´s Perspective When it comes to COVID-19 and Law Enforcement?New Jersey Governors Highway Safety Association Senior Director Pam Shadel Fischer added another dangerous cause of accidents. She said, “There is a sense that because of Covid-19, law enforcement is diverted.” This perspective that risky behavior would go unchecked on ‘empty’ roads is dangerous and life-threatening, both for drivers engaging in risky behaviors as well as everyone else on the road, whether in a car or not.

Reminder to Drivers Getting Back on the Road Post Pandemic

As drivers get back on the road, New Jersey drivers are reminded to engage in basic safety precautions to make sure that you, your passengers, and others on the road stay safe. Make sure you have completed safety checks for your car, especially if you haven’t driven it in a while. Always wear your seatbelt and ensure that all passengers are also strapped in. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering drugs. Obey all street signs, and follow the local speed limits, even if you seem to be alone on the road. Sometimes the most dangerous times operating a vehicle are those in which you let your guard down because you perceive that you have more room to roam than you actually do. Remember that at any moment, a car, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian could enter into your trajectory from an unseen path, and driving defensively while following all traffic laws is the surest way to keep everyone safe on the road.

Contact Trenton NJ Fatal Auto Accident and Injury Lawyers Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our experienced team of auto accident lawyers supports clients across Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area in all matters regarding car accidents and personal injury claims.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team today to discuss your accident, please contact us online, or through our Trenton office at 609.528.2596. We look forward to working with you.