What Are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents in NJ?

Motor vehicle accidents are a top cause of death in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Every year, analysts study the leading causes of car accidents to understand why they occur and how to prevent them in the future. In the majority of cases, car accidents in New Jersey are caused by human error. This is why it is extremely helpful to hire an experienced car accident lawyer in New Jersey if you ever get in an accident due to someone else’s negligence.

Driver Distraction

Distracted driving is an epidemic that is responsible for causing thousands of serious injuries and deaths each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,522 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in 2021, making up 8 percent of all fatal crashes that year.

Driver distraction refers to expending any amount of focus or attention on something other than the driving task. Driver distractions can be manual, visual or cognitive. They include texting and driving, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio, chatting with passengers, reading billboards, and daydreaming.

Cell Phone Usage

Cell phone usage is the number one type of driver distraction in New Jersey. Data from the New Jersey Department of Transportation shows that in 2021, a total of 1,076 car accidents were reported where a driver was engaged in handheld cell phone use at the time of the crash. These collisions resulted in 482 injuries and 3 fatalities. In addition, 361 accidents involved hands-free cell phone use, 2 of which were fatal.

Cell phone use is so dangerous while driving because it fulfills all three types of driver distraction. A driver who is holding a cell phone and reading or typing content has removed at least one hand from the wheel, both eyes from the road and the mind off of the driving task. This puts the driver at high risk of violating traffic laws, failing to notice changing roadway situations and having delayed reaction times to hazards.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol significantly impacts a driver’s ability to safely and appropriately control a motor vehicle. Intoxication can alter a driver’s senses, judgment and reflexes. Drunk or drugged drivers are more likely to engage in dangerous practices while driving, such as speeding, racing, wrong-way driving and red-light running.

Statewide crash statistics for New Jersey in 2022 show that 27.4 percent of fatally injured crash victims had consumed alcohol to some extent. Of all drivers involved in car accidents in New Jersey in 2022, 11.7 percent were legally intoxicated.


Speeding is a dangerous driver behavior that increases the risk of car accidents. Exceeding posted speed limits or driving too fast for conditions decreases a driver’s ability to stop the car in time to prevent a collision. Speeding also enhances the severity of a car accident; high-speed collisions are more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities than low-speed accidents due to the increased force of impact.

Broken Traffic Laws

Traffic rules and regulations are in place to enhance the safety of all road users. When a driver behaves recklessly and violates one or multiple traffic laws, this dramatically increases the odds of a crash. Breaking the law by speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, cutting other drivers off, making unsafe lane changes, running red lights and stop signs, and driving aggressively contribute to many car accidents in New Jersey annually.

If another driver caused or contributed to your car accident in New Jersey, contact a New Jersey personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C., to discuss your ability to hold that driver accountable for your losses.