WEST TRENTON– New Jersey State Police statistics show that 188 people have died in traffic-related accidents so far this year (Jan. 1 through May 22, 2010), which is down 12 percent from the 214 fatal accidents this time last year. Part of that decline can be attributed to a drop in motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities, both of which had spiked up in the last two years.
The 2010 Memorial Day holiday officially begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 28th and continues until 6 a.m. Tuesday, June 1st. During the 2009 Memorial Day holiday, seven persons lost their lives on New Jersey’s roadways. Out of those seven fatalities, six were found to have drug or alcohol impairment as a contributing factor.
State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes hopes that a well-informed and concerned public will do its part this weekend to reach a zero fatality holiday. “It is unacceptable to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs; when you drive impaired, you are putting your life and your passenger’s lives in danger, and last year’s statistics bear this out.”
“Our enforcement efforts this year will concentrate on the behaviors that lead to fatal crashes. They include intoxicated drivers, aggressive drivers, seatbelt usage, cell phone violators, and keeping pedestrians off the highways,” added Fuentes.
In an effort to maintain a safe driving environment throughout the weekend, New Jersey troopers and local police will take part in the “Click-It or Ticket” campaign along with supplemental DWI Patrols. Law enforcement will utilize a zero tolerance approach with both of these violations.
When motorists see flashing lights on emergency vehicles, they need to move over. New Jersey’s Move Over Law states that drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks and other highway safety vehicles displaying flashing lights must move over one lane or, if not safe to move over, slow down below the posted speed limit. Emergency personnel deserve the protection provided by this new law and violators will be ticketed.
“ The Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer travel season, so there’s no better time to remind motorists and their passengers of the life-saving importance of always buckling up, regardless of where they’re sitting in a vehicle,” said Pam Fischer, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Wearing a seatbelt increases your chances of surviving a crash by as much as 75 percent. Whether you’re in the front seat or rear seat, buckle up, not just for yourself, but for your family, friends and everyone who is counting on your safe return.”
Troopers and police officers will also be providing traffic and boating safety tips. Along with increased land-based safety responsibilities, personnel assigned to the State Police Marine Bureau will be patrolling all the waterways throughout the summer boating season. Enforcement activities will focus on boaters drinking alcohol and persons recklessly operating personal watercraft (jet skis) and other powered vessels. Marine troopers will also be checking to see that boat operators have obtained the proper licenses to operate watercraft. A good synopsis of boating requirements can be found on the State Police website at www.njsp.org under boating safety.
Law enforcement’s objective is to save lives with the ultimate goal of enjoying a fatality free Memorial Day weekend.
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