NJ State Police: More traffic fatalities in NJ last year than in 2015

New Jersey State Police statistics show more than 600 people died in traffic accidents on New Jersey's roadways last year, an 8 percent increase from 2015.



The data released Tuesday shows 607 people died in 2016, which is 45 more than the 562 deaths recorded in 2015.



More than half of those killed in 2016 were behind the wheel, while 90 were passengers and 166 were pedestrians. There were also 18 bicyclists killed.



Six drivers under the age of 18 died behind the wheel last year, as did 24 people who were 80 or older.



Traffic experts say driver distractions and driver fatigue are among the causes of the accidents and fatalities.



AAA spokeswoman Cathleen Lewis says that distracted driving is an issue on New Jersey's roadways.



"While you may not be texting someone while driving; you may not be holding that phone, those technologies are now embedded in your car," she says.



Burlington County saw the most deaths overall with 50, with Middlesex and Monmouth counties close behind with 49 fatalities each.



The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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