TRENTON – After a sharp jump in the number of fatal traffic accidents in 2021, government officials are preparing a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of driving a car in a state of disability.
The “Wheel Risk” program is “especially important now as New Jersey prepares to open its recently legalized recreational cannabis industry,” the Attorney General’s Office said Monday.
It is noted that the percentage of drivers with a positive drug test after a fatal accident “tends to increase, even if the number of drivers with a positive alcohol test remains constant.”
“We want to make sure that cannabis consumers – especially those who are trying cannabis products for the first time – understand that physical effects can be different and that driving should be the last thing anyone does after use,” said Jeff Brown, CEO. State Hemp Regulatory Committee.
“The campaign comes after a sharp increase in the number of fatal accidents across the state in 2021,” the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
Last year, 674 fatal accidents were reported, nearly 24 percent more than the 550 in 2020.
In 2021, 704 people died in traffic accidents, which is 20 percent more than 587 years ago. This happened after the increase in road deaths by 5.2 percent from 2019 to 2020.
“Overall, the number of accidents and deaths is the highest recorded in New Jersey since 2007,” the statement said.
It notes that an analysis of the causes of the 2021 crashes is not yet complete, “but historically in New Jersey more than a quarter of all fatal accidents are drivers intoxicated by drugs or alcohol – or both.”
It is noted that driving under the influence of alcohol was the cause of almost 30 percent of fatal accidents in 2020.
As part of the “Risks of the Wheels” campaign, images of the steering wheel will be presented to illustrate the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, alcohol, drugs or medication.
This message will be spread in the coming weeks on billboards, radio and digital ads, as well as on social networks.
Jim Walsh covers state security, economic development and other articles for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.
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