WEST TRENTON – New Jersey State Police will focus on enforcing the laws and aiding holiday travelers this Labor Day weekend, Colonel Rick Fuentes announced today. After a difficult week we urge New Jersey residents to enjoy all of New Jersey’s recreational opportunities this weekend with safety in mind, the State Police superintendent said.
“We will hold drivers accountable if they engage in unlawful roadway behavior,” Fuentes said. The superintendent explained that these behaviors include speeding, driving aggressively, distracted driving, and driving while intoxicated.
The colonel urges motorists to obey the “Move Over Law” and to avoid potential problems by using designated drivers, getting enough sleep, leaving early to beat peak travel times and by paying attention at all times.
Each year, New Jersey police vehicles are struck by passing motorists while on car stops or at the scene of traffic accidents. The Colonel urges all motorists to approach stationary emergency vehicles, police cars, tow trucks, ambulances, or highway safety vehicles with their emergency lights activated with caution. With the post hurricane clean up efforts this weekend we ask for your patience and cooperation when driving near stationary emergency vehicles.
Another important factor contributing to accidents is fatigue. Many travelers try to squeeze every last minute out of the long Labor Day weekend and end up driving while exhausted. To help eliminate fatigue, know your route of travel and make frequent stops. During long holiday weekends, fatigue often contributes to crashes.
Inattentive driving is perhaps the single most unreported factor leading to motor vehicle crashes. Texting and handheld mobile device usage are illegal in New Jersey and many other states, but it’s still common to see people violating these laws when police are not around. There are a variety of unmarked State Police vehicles being used by uniformed troopers, so the only sure way to avoid a ticket is to use only phones equipped for hands-free operation. Other common distractions include map reading, sound system adjustments, built-in video/game monitors, and dealing with children in the back seat.
The State Police will continue to target drivers and their passengers who are not wearing seat belts including children not properly secured in approved child restraint safety seats. More than half of the traffic fatalities in the state come from non-seat belted occupants.
The 2011 Labor Day Holiday officially begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2 and continues through 5:59 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 6. During the previous Labor Day holiday, seven persons lost their lives in accidents on New Jersey roadways. Fuentes hopes that the public will continue to do their part to reduce traffic fatalities.
In addition to 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.
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