New Jersey residents have long been aware that driving a vehicle after drinking alcohol is unsafe and may even be illegal if a person’s blood alcohol content is over the legally allowed threshold. Despite strong laws and penalties for drunk driving offenses, too many drivers continue to ignore the facts and instead make selfish and reckless decisions. As a result, many people die every year at the hands of drunk drivers.
According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol was a contributing factor in 19% of New Jersey’s total vehicular fatalities in 2017. In 2018, however, alcohol was involved in 22% of all deaths in motor vehicle crashes across the state. Also in 2018, the overall number of people killed in automobile accidents in New Jersey declined, yet the total number of people killed in drunk driving accidents in New Jersey increased.
Looking at records for Essex County over the five-year period from 2014 through 2018, drunk drivers have been involved in a range of fatal accidents. In 2014, alcohol was a factor in nearly one third of all vehicular deaths in the county. That dropped significantly to 12.5% in 2015 and then jumped first to 22% in 2016 and then to 25% in 2017. In 2018, drunk drivers were part of one in every five vehicular fatalities across the county.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in New Jersey an overview of how many people die each year in motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers so they have a clear understanding of how serious this problem continues to be.