Do you engage in these dangerous driving behaviors?
New Jersey in the year 2021 recorded 667 fatal crashes on its roads, compared to 550 the year prior.
New survey figures from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety may offer a peak into the reasoning behind this jump.
In the survey, which asked motorists whether or not they've engaged in certain behaviors at least once in the past 30 days, every single unsafe driving behavior registered an uptick compared to 2020.
The survey recorded a 24% increase in the share of drivers who admitted to getting behind the wheel when they may have had too much to drink. Compared to 2020, 13.6% more drivers in 2020 admitted to driving within an hour of consuming cannabis.
More than half of the respondents said they've driven at least 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway.
Prior to 2021, this survey was registering steady declines in dangerous driving behaviors.
"While drivers acknowledge that certain activities behind the wheel, like speeding and driving impaired, are not safe, many still engage in these activities anyway," said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Like the Garden State, the nation has seen a jump in the number of traffic fatalities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 42,900 people died in motor vehicle crashes across the nation in 2021, compared to 38,824 in 2020, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blames a considerable segment of the increase on dangerous driving behaviors.
"These are not numbers, these are family members and friends and loved ones," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
As of Friday afternoon, 628 people had lost their lives on New Jersey's roads so far in 2022, as a result of 670 fatal crashes.
The next time you're thinking about sending a text while driving or getting behind the wheel impaired, Noble said, ask yourself who you'd be willing to lose — because your decision may take away someone's parent, child or friend.