TRENTON—Law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey will be cracking down on aggressive driving this summer, as part of the first statewide “Obey the Signs or Pay the Fines” initiative, Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer announced Tuesday.
Beginning July 1 and running through July 31, 75 law enforcement agencies will participate in this initiative designed to help motorists remain safe on New Jersey roads during the busy summer travel season. Grants of $4,000 each will be awarded by the division to local police departments to deter aggressive driving behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, running red lights or stop signs, improper passing and unsafe lane changes. Additional county and municipal police departments are expected to participate in the initiative using their own resources.
In Middlesex County, East Brunswick, Edison, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Plainsboro, South Brunswick and Woodbridge each received a $4,000 grant to participate in the program. In Union County, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden and Rahway received grants.
Originally developed in response to the pervasive speeding problem on New Jersey roadways, the program began in 2006 in four northern counties and was later expanded to seven counties. Last year in New Jersey, there were 22,118 crashes related to unsafe speed. This is the first year the program will be conducted statewide and expanded to include not only excessive speed, but all aggressive driving behaviors.
According to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Report, speeding is a contributing factor in nearly one out of three fatal crashes across the nation, while 56 percent of these crashes involve one or more aggressive driving behaviors. In addition, an annual survey conducted for the Division by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, indicated that 32 percent of those drivers surveyed viewed aggressive driving as the biggest threat to their safety on the roads.
“Clearly, it’s time for all motorists to do a personal ‘reality check’ of their own driving behaviors,” Fischer said. “We must stop blaming each other for our bad driving practices and take personal responsibility for our behaviors behind the wheel. Impatience, hurrying, distractions, traffic congestion and stress can all lead to unsafe driving. While many motorists believe they have excellent driving skills, they simply don’t realize that these additional factors contribute to creating a potentially hazardous environment on the roads.”
A 38-question quiz designed to help motorists recognize their own aggressive driving behaviors is available on the division’s web site at www.njsaferoads.com. Questions on the quiz include: “Do you maintain appropriate distance when following other vehicles, bicyclists, motorcyclists; provide appropriate distance when cutting in after passing vehicles; yield to pedestrians; maintain speeds appropriate for conditions; yield and/or move to the right for emergency vehicles; avoid challenging other drivers; and, refrain from flashing your headlights to signal a desire to pass.”
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