Seven people have died in accidents on Route 55 so far this year.
That’s the same number of fatalities reported for all of 2015. Six died in both 2013 and 2014, while no fatalities were reported in 2012, according to New Jersey State Police accident statistics.
The latest death occurred Friday morning when a woman was struck by a vehicle after she crashed into a tree and walked back to the roadway to seek help.
The 40-mile stretch runs from Deptford Township in Gloucester County to Maurice River Township in Cumberland County.
Route 55 is a major South Jersey artery, connecting residents in Gloucester County to Route 42 (Atlantic City Expressway), the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstate 295 and Interstate 76 into Philadelphia. At the southern end in Cumberland County, 55 links motorists to Routes 47, 49 and 56.
The speed limit for most of Route 55 is 65 mph.
The reasons for the accidents are varied, according to reports from 2013 and 2014.
Among the causes listed on NJSP reports were driver inattention, drunken or drugged driving and unsafe speed. One was attributed to tire failure.
The final statewide fatal accident report for 2015 hasn’t been released yet.
Police monitor accident reports to spot trends and determine where stepped up enforcement may be needed, explained state police spokesman Capt. Stephen Jones. When they see spikes in accidents related to excessive speed or drunken driving in a particular area, police would increase patrols in those areas.
As for Route 55 itself, it’s fairly free of obstructions, is flat and the road surface is in good condition, Jones said.
More than 72,000 vehicles a day travel on Route 55 in the Deptford area, according to state Department of Transportation figures, while that figure is around 33,000 in the Vineland area.
Monitoring accident trends and increased enforcement can only do so much, though, Jones added. No matter the roadway, certain realities apply.
“The faster you go, the less time you have to react to anything else in the roadway,” Jones noted, whether its another vehicle or a deer streaking across the highway. Wildlife is a key concern along 55. “That is a very rural roadway that runs through a lot of forested areas.”
These are the six 2016 fatalities that occurred on Route 55 prior to the Friday accident.
- An 18-year-old passenger was killed Jan. 20 when the car she was traveling in left the roadway and struck a tree in Elk Township.
- A day later, a state prison inmate was killed when the corrections department vehicle he was traveling in collided with a truck near Millville.
- Former Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum died of injuries she suffered Feb. 15 after her car slid on an icy roadway and slammed into trees in Pittsgrove Township on Feb. 15.
- A Sea Isle City man was klled March 21 when his car slammed into a truck putting salt down on the road in Vineland.
- A Pitman man died April 10 when his vehicle veered off the roadway and flipped over in Deptford.
- A Pennsylvania woman was killed April 24 when her vehicle ran off the road and overturned in Millville. She was thrown from her vehicle in the crash.
Originally published here by nj.com.