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Test results: New Jersey drivers among worst in nation

Car accidents are very common along the Jersey Shore and throughout the state. Some people believe that the high rate of car accidents may be attributable to the quality of some New Jersey drivers, which is very poor according a national GMAC Insurance drivers test. New Jersey scored 48th in the country based on a test of the surveyed drivers. These dismal scores are actually an improvement on last year’s test in which New Jersey was the worst in the nation. Washington D.C. now holds that honor.

Some experts say that the test does not mean that New Jersey is a particularly dangerous state to drive in however. An AAA spokeswoman noted that New Jersey’s road safety has improved significantly in the past few years and that the state has some very encouraging safety statistics.

“Making the judgment that we have some of the worst drivers based on a knowledge test isn’t fair,” the spokeswoman said. “We’ve had a decrease in crashes, less highway deaths, 96 percent seat-belt usage and we’re one of the most densely populated states in the nation. We are absolutely doing something right.”

A spokesman for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission called the GMAC Insurance test a marketing promotion that unfairly characterized New Jersey drivers as poor based on a small sampling of drivers. Indeed, the test results conclude that 20 percent of drivers nationwide could not meet the basic requirements of a driving test. It is unknown whether these numbers are scientifically accurate.

Despite improvements to the safety of New Jersey roads, many New Jersey residents still suffer personal injuries and wrongful deaths on local highways every year. More driver education and better driving habits would help improve the safety of local roads, regardless of the competency levels projected by the GMAC test.

Source: The Daily Record, “Driver’s test to N.J.: You flunk,” Larry Higgs, 6/10/11

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