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Living with the Future in Mind
Goals and Indicators for New Jersey's Quality of Life
First Annual Update to the Sustainable State Project Report 2000

Indicator 29


Additional  Efficient Transportation and Land Use  Indicators

26 - Road & Bridge Repairs

27 - Vehicle Miles Traveled

28 - Workplace Transportation

Traffic Fatalities

Annual Number of reported deaths from traffic accidents involving motorist or pedestrians: Decreasing

  Things to think about 

Car accidents took nearly as many American lives last year alone as the Vietnam War did throughout a decade.

In the United States, or any country that is free of war, traffic fatalities are the largest cause of violent death.

Safe driving can save more years of life than many medical procedures, including some cancer and heart disease treatments.

Importance

Traffic fatalities are avoidable. They are also partially a byproduct of sprawling development and the long hours we spend driving. In the short term, however, we can reduce the number of accidents with such devices as traffic calming measures that slow speeds in crowded or residential neighborhoods.

Economic

New Jersey has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. This is due, in part, to the amount of driving we do and the number of accidents that result. We pay also for medical service, automobile repairs, and lost productive activity. If this money went instead to education or investment in capital assets for business growth, then we would receive returns of those investments far into the future. Instead, we pay high financial and emotional prices.

Environmental

There is no obvious connection between traffic fatalities and the environment.

Social

In traffic fatalities, we lose family, friends, and colleagues. Whether an accident takes the life of one or many in a community, deaths caused by traffic accidents have serious, long-term repercussions.

Knowledge Gaps

Young people have more car accidents than any other age group does, so traffic mishaps take an especially high toll when measured in lost years of life. The indicator does not measure lost years and thus does not reveal this important distinction. In addition, at almost all ages, men are much more prone to car accidents than women are. This discrepancy also does not show up in the indicator.

Data Source: NJ Department of Law & Public Safety and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2006
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Modified: April 30, 2007

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