Slight Increase In Jersey Shore Vehicle Crashes This Year

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News

  JERSEY SHORE – The region saw a slight uptick in motor vehicle crashes so far this year in comparison to last year.

  Whether we’ve seen more cars on the road due to the end of the pandemic or if it’s basic carelessness, the influx of summer tourists, or people finally feeling like they can get out and do things that they forget to be safe, there has been a noticeable increase in crashes lately.

  The New Jersey State Police reported an increase in car crashes for roughly the first half of the year.

Photo courtesy Stafford Township Police

  Sgt. Alejandra Goez of the Public Information Unit reported there were 457 crashes handled by State Police in Ocean County from January 1 to June 22 in 2021, up from 405 crashes from January 1, 2020 to June 22, 2020. In 2021, 404 of the 457 crashes took place on the Garden State Parkway. The rest were other state roads and areas.

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  “The slight [year-to-date] increase in State Police crashes can most likely be attributed to the fact that there are more vehicles traveling on the road in 2021 compared to 2020, which was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Goez said.

  He also reported “a slight [year-to-date] decrease in State Police fatal crashes.” From January 1, 2020 to June 22, 2020, there were 14 fatal crashes with 15 fatalities that took place in Ocean County. Of the 14 crashes, five of them took place in State Police jurisdiction.

Photo courtesy Manchester Police

  From January 1 to June 22 of this year, there were 15 fatal crashes with 16 fatalities that took place in Ocean County. Of the 15 crashes, three of them took place in State Police jurisdiction this year.

  Some local jurisdictions are showing a similar trend.

  There were 1,785 motor vehicle accidents reported in Toms River from January 1 to July 7 this year. There were 1,614 motor vehicle accidents reported from January 1, 2020 to July 7, 2020, meaning there were 171 more accidents or roughly a 10.6 percent increase in accidents.

  However, these numbers trend downward from 2018 and 2019’s reports. In 2018, 2,508 motor vehicle accidents were reported in the same time period. In 2019, 2,356 were reported in the given time period.

  The motor vehicle crashes reported range from serious crashes to minor parking lot fender-benders.

  “Through education, enforcement, and engineering, as well as other initiatives, including DDACTS (Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety) we have been able to significantly reduce the amount of traffic accidents in Toms River,” Jillian Messina, Media Relations Specialist at the Toms River Police Department, told The Toms River Times. “DDACTS is where officers are directed to high crime and high traffic areas during the times where they occur the most. This initiative has significantly reduced those incidences in Toms River.”

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News

  According to Messina, the Toms River Police Department urges drivers to “buckle up” and “make sure passengers are buckled up.” They also urge drivers to keep “heads up, phones down” because “that call or text can wait.” In addition, drivers “should never get behind the wheel impaired or exhausted, or leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle.” They should obey the speed limit and avoid distractions.

  Pedestrians, according to Messina, are urged by the Toms River Police Department to utilize crosswalks, look both ways before walking into the street and “make eye contact” with drivers who are stopping for you before you cross.

  “The New Jersey State Police reminds motorists to not drive distracted and do not get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Sergeant Goez said. “Always wear a seatbelt and obey all traffic laws.”

  The Toms River Police Department can be reached at 732-349-0150. The New Jersey State Police Division Headquarters can be reached at 609-882-2000. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1.