New Jersey has a lot to be proud of. We have the most diners in the world. We’re the birthplace of the lightbulb, the phonograph and the film projector. And we can’t forget NJ natives Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Jack Nicholson and so many more.
But one thing we’re not so proud of? Our traffic.
According to a recent report from TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, that traffic is only set to surge with an influx of tractor-trailers hauling cargo across the state’s major highways. The report predicts an increase in freight value moved by trucks in New Jersey to increase by 93% between 2016 and 2045. Translated into cargo weight, that’s a 54% increase.
TRIP’s report also revealed another number one for New Jersey – the worst bottleneck in the nation. Where I-95 and SR 4 meet in Fort Lee holds the top spot out of 20 locations across the country. One of the reasons for this current and project increase in semi-truck traffic is attributed to what’s called “the Amazon effect.” Consumers are using online shopping more and more, leading to the need to move more cargo more quickly.
Rocky Moretti, TRIP spokesman, explains: “Consumers and businesses demand faster movement of goods. Demand for freight shipment has increased nationally, due to population growth, and (the) just-in-time delivery format, manufacturing and warehousing.”
And, New Jersey’s highway infrastructure is crumbling. “TRIP’s report makes an important contribution to a growing body of evidence that our deteriorating infrastructure is putting the brakes on our economy,” Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Association, said in a press release. “The cost of doing nothing is too high and will only get higher if our leaders do not step up and put forward a comprehensive investment package backed by real funding.”
What does this all mean? More cargo means more tractor-trailers on the roads, and more tractor-trailers on the roads leads to a higher risk of truck accidents. The statistics don’t lie. According to TRIP, here in NJ from 2013 to 2017, seven people per one million population were killed annually in truck crashes. During those same four years, fatalities from truck accidents increased 20% nationwide. And, five out of six fatalities were either occupants of the other vehicle or pedestrians and cyclists.
Although traffic fatalities overall decreased in 2018, the next decade is set to bring big changes to New Jersey. Ensure you’re protected on the road – drive with care and attention to the vehicles and trucks around you. And, if you are injured in a tractor-trailer accident, the NJ injury attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can protect your rights to compensation for your losses.