PARKWAY DEATH TOLL RISING

Fatalities on New Jersey’s major raodways are up this year by 18 percent, reversing a general trend of increasing roadway safety, today’s Bergen Record reports.

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The article comes less than a week after two accidents on a short stretch of Route 95 claimed five lives, including three members of a Queens family. The Record reports the highway had been relatively safe in recent years.

From the story:

In contrast, the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Route 80 claim many more lives. In 2004, there were 40 fatal accidents on the parkway, which is by far the state’s busiest roadway. There were 25 fatal accidents on the turnpike and 18 on Route 80.

Joe Orlando, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, said the number of fatal accidents on the parkway has grown in spite of police enforcement.

“State police on the turnpike and parkway are at the highest complement of troopers they have been at in years,” he said.

Orlando said a high number of fatalities on the parkway occurred late at night, and involved a single vehicle. He said the geometry of the parkway may also present more problems for distracted motorists.

“The turnpike is very straight,” he said. “The parkway has more bends in it, and keep in mind there are a lot of sections of the parkway that are without guardrail.”

State highway and police officials are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss what’s behind the recent spurt in fatalities and what to do about it, the Record reports.

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