A brief compilation of news items from the past year:
• July 2014: 3 passengers in a minivan are killed when the driver (under influence of alcohol) drives into a guard rain in North Bergen
•February 2015: A truck carrying a large steel object crashes into a bridge in Secaucus. The steel object fell onto a nearby van, killing a passenger.
•May 2015: A motorcyclist is killed on Route 3 in East Rutherford
•June 2015: 2 are killed when a driver loses control and rams into a tree in Clifton.
•June 2015: Similar to the accident in February, a truck hits a bridge in Rutherford, knocking a shipping container onto a nearby car, killing the occupant.
•July 2015: 2 are killed when a driver leaves the road on the exit lanes at Valley Road, also in Clifton
That’s a total of 10 people killled, not to mention pedestrian deaths.
There’s been no reaction to this. No press conferences, no vows by the state to make safety improvements, and as far as I can tell, no safety enforcement campaigns. There was however, a statement by a truck owners’ group asking for money to educate drivers about bridge heights. Otherwise, business continues as usual.
Compare this to the response from the Amtrak crash in May (8 fatalities). The president made a statement. The FBI and NTSB investigated. The media was on it! To be fair, train crashes are far more spectacular, and rare events that make good reporting.
There’s a clear double standard here. After a particularly gruesome train crash in California, congress mandated that all passenger railroads install positive train control on their systems. Basically, an electronic way to enforce signals and speed limits.
If Route 3 was a railroad, it would have been shut down years ago. Or, it would be spending millions of dollars to install positive automobile control.