If you live and drive in New Jersey, you may wonder how your home county ranks for traffic safety. The New Jersey Department of Transportation maintains records of car crashes by county, but they don’t tell the whole story. For 2013, the latest year for which there are complete records, the top five counties for total crashes were:

  1. Bergen — 31,420
  2. Middlesex — 28,791
  3. Essex — 26,017
  4. Hudson — 19,227
  5. Union — 19,218

But four of these five are also the most populace counties in the state. Adjusting for population (using numbers from the 2010 census), we see a different story:

  1. Passaic — 0.038 accidents per capita
  2. Somerset — 0.038
  3. Mercer — 0.037
  4. Middlesex — 0.036
  5. Union — 0.036

Only Middlesex and Union remain in the top five. Bergen County drops down to number seven, Essex to number nine, and Hudson ties for 13th with Cumberland, Hunterdon and Ocean.

As for fatal crashes, the leading counties in 2013 were:

  1. Middlesex — 55
  2. Ocean — 42
  3. Essex — 35
  4. Burlington — 37
  5. Atlantic — 36

Adjusted for population, the rankings for these counties also change. The top five counties are:

  1. Cumberland — 15.9 per 100,000 residents
  2. Atlantic — 13.12
  3. Salem — 10.59
  4. Gloucester — 9.36
  5. Burlington — 8.24

Only Atlantic and Burlington counties remain in the top five. Ocean County drops to number seven, Middlesex falls to number nine and Essex lands in 15th place. Surprisingly, Hudson County, which ranked so high in total crashes, has the lowest ranking of vehicle fatalities per 100,000 residents at 2.21. Bergen and Union counties are also low, coming in 18th and 19th, with 3.53 and 3.35 respectively.

Of course, there are other important factors at play, such as the volume of traffic flowing through these counties, unrelated to the number of residents. But it’s important to take more than a superficial look at statistics to understand where the real risks may lie. Areas with a very large volume of traffic are likely to have more accidents, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re more likely to have one.

If you are involved in a serious traffic accident, you should contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer immediately. To schedule a free consultation at Brown, Novick & McKinley, call 856-845-7898  or contact us online.