Reader-submitted: The REAL Story Behind the 14 Traffic Fatalities

There has been much talk as of recent about the OCPO and State Police traffic crackdown in Lakewood in response to the 14 Traffic Fatalities in the year of 2017.

(Of course, nobody mentioned the 12 traffic Fatalities in Toms River, a city with at least 10,000 less residents and probably closer to 25,000 less residents than Lakewood – if you count all the undocumented immigrants in Lakewood.)

If there was only one traffic fatality, that would be too much. The Talmud teaches that “He who saves a life, it’s as if he saved the entire world.” Today, I seek not to minimize nor diminish the efforts of Law enforcement to create safer roads. Rather, I seek to correct a mistaken and quite painful narrative which seems to be circulating on social media.

Lots of media outlets and some local talk show hosts dedicated a lot of time to discussing Lakewood. Unfortunately, there were many callers and hosts, along with the vicious commenters on Facebook who went all out against the ‘Orthodox’ and ‘Hasidics’ for the 14 fatalities.

Unfortunately for those who would like to blame Jews for all of the world’s problems – including the high number of Fatalities – the truth just paints a different picture.

Here are the real statistics taken from the NJ State Police website:

There were 14 fatalities in the year of 2017. Of those 14, there were 5 fatalities which occurred on the Jewish Sabbath, a time when aside for emergency responders, NOT A SINGLE ORTHODOX JEW WAS DRIVING.

That’s right, a whopping 36% of fatal accidents occurred between the period of sundown on Friday afternoon and roughly an hour after sundown on Saturday. The Sabbath commences on Friday at sundown and ends at either 50, 60 or 72 minutes after sunset on Saturday, depending on custom. Anyone who has driven through Lakewood during that time period can clearly see that traffic is practically non existent on the Sabbath.

Here are the dates and times for the 5 accidents which occurred on the Sabbath:

1) 1/13/17 Time – 6:18 pm
2) 1/27/17 Time – 5:46 pm
3) 5/13/17 Time – 5:51 am
4) 6/09/17 Time – 9:22 pm
5) 8/25/17 Time – 11:39 pm

So what have here is a narrative that the Orthodox are to blame for the high number of fatalities when in reality the most dangerous day to drive in Lakewood is on the day when there is virtually zero traffic, and on the day when NOT A SINGLE ORTHODOX JEW OPERATES HIS VEHICLE.

Facts are stubborn things, my friend. Despite the narrative you may be trying to portray, the numbers just tell a different story. Instead of blaming Jews for every problem which is encountered, let’s leave the race and ethnicity out of the discussion, and instead focus on dealing with the issues in a respectable way without the gross generalizations and stereotyping that are unfortunately way too common.

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  1. Wow. Thank you for writing this. Sometimes even I find myself believing all the nasty stuff they say about us, so it’s great to see you prove the facts.
    Of course we should continue to improve our driving, but we don’t need to take the blame for something that’s not our fault

  2. ..who they were… Not that I’m against anyone [any ethnic group], just in this question of who it was – despite the majority of the population. I would add that if I’m not mistaken, several of those killed were walking in dark clothing on busy roads. It would be practical to see a breakdown of the circumstances of each fatality, so that we can take lessons from them. One of the biggest, I believe, is to wear reflectors at night, and even then to walk carefully. THERE HAS BEEN A MAJOR CAMPAIGN FOR 19 YEARS – AND RECENTLY EVEN IN SPANISH, IN LAKEWOOD – TO WEAR REFLECTORS!!!

  3. Please see this post for instruction on reporting burnt out street lights. While the twp is working on upgrading the lighting; both by adding lights and increasing the wattage of existing ones, it is also important to report lights. And, as mentioned, it is important to wear a reflector EVEN WITH GOOD LIGHTING – AS NIGHT IS NIGHT!!!

  4. Excellent letter exposing the real facts and the bias of thirsty Lakewood/Orthodox Jew haters and LIARS. It should also be pointed out that many of the fatal accidents happened on the stretch of GSP that officially passes through Lakewood that has ZERO indication of “Lakewood” drivers and PEDESTRIANS. Also notice that when it comes to Lakewood all of the sudden we blame pedestrians. Hate has no limits.

  5. This is a great article. But only 36% was on Shabbos. Plus, to pretend that the frum community is the paradigm of safety isn’t true either. WE NEED TO BE SAFER ON THE ROADS! Don’t let this article placate you. We create a chillul hashem every day on the roads.

  6. @ Thinker: If you look at a calendar, those 2 dates in January are Fridays, not Shabbos. So yes, it happened after the zman, which means that it happened after Shabbos started!
    What the poster did is to show that more than one third of fatalities occured during the 24 hour period (Friday night through Motzei Shabbos) during which the drivers are not the Frum people who are blamed for Lakewood’s poor driving.

  7. I authored the letter. It seems like some are not understanding the numbers here. The Sabbath starts at sunset on Friday and ends at either 50,60 or 72 minutes AFTER sunset on Saturday. Basically the Jewish Sabbath is roughly a 25 hour period during which Jews do not drive. Period. Check your calendar again and you will see that all these 5 accidents occurred during that 25 hour period. Therefore, my point again is that 36% of accidents occurred during a 25 hour period when ORTHODOX JEWS DO NOT DRIVE. To blame the Orthodox for the high number of fatalities is disingenuous at best at libelous at worst when looking at the high rate of fatal accidents on the Jewish Sabbath when religious Jews don’t drive.

  8. @ my opinion counts. Sorry, you have the wrong times. Sunset on 1/13/17 was 4:54, the accident on that day occurred an hour and half after Shabbos started. Sunset on 1/27/17 was 5:10, the accident on that day occured close to one hour after Shabbos started.

  9. And those numbers only reflect the fatalities that are IMPOSSIBLE to blame on the orthodox. The rest were not NECESSARILY orthodox. Unbelievable.

  10. As the saying goes, “don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind”.
    Does anyone believe that dialog is the answer? The truth is, haters remain haters, and no amount of dialog will change that. So why are we even trying?

  11. The article states 5 were on shabbos and a commenter mentions another 3 on the gsp. That leaves 6 fatalities in lakewood during the week. That said, anyone who blames a specific ethnic group for these fatalities is simply being dishonest. However, that does not mean that there isnt a problem with how people of every color, creed, religion, race and size within the area drive around nj in general. The crackdown should be state wide

  12. Also, some of the accidents happened at the border of Lakewood, by non Lakewood drivers. (most driver on Rt 70 are not Lakewooders)

    So how about honest reporting – report where the drivers were from (& exclude any that were not the drivers fault – If a drunk guy or a little kid walks into a road, it doesn’t reflect bad driving habbits)

  13. lets not make ourselves tzadikim over here. we are guilty and if not for הנה לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל there would be many more fatalaties, it is a disgrace the way bnei tora drive in this town. YES i know that you learned shtark first seder and your baby is screaming in the back seat and your wife is not feeling wel and your late to the babysitter and you are in a major rush! but PLEASE have pity on those that are not as “talented” a driver as you endanger their lives.and lastly dont forget to make kidush hashem whereever you go!!!

  14. SO-
    5 accidents on Shabbos
    3 accidents on the GSP near Lakewood
    1 on route 70 which is totally out of the orthodox neighborhood and is
    in fact in a commercial area. ( not really designed for pedestrians)
    total of 9 accidents which have nothing to do with the orthodox people.
    and I dont know anything about the other 5…
    would be good to get some more details so we can learn from this…

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