TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T Dow and Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky have circled Oct. 10 on the calendar as a day they hope no motorists will lose their lives on New Jersey’s roads.
For 11 years, Oct. 10 has been dubbed “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day”. The day of awareness is a national initiative that was designed to unite the country in moving toward zero fatalities for one full day by encouraging motorists to obey all traffic laws, including buckling up, every ride; driving the posted speed limit; avoiding distractions while driving; and always being safe and sober behind the wheel.
“Clearly, this effort will go a long way in our continuing efforts to stem the tide of tragedies that occur every day on New Jersey’s roadways,” Dow said. “Shining the spotlight on this one day can help create a groundswell of support for good driving behaviors that can carry over throughout the year and continue safe passage on the roads for all New Jersey motorists.”
Last year in New Jersey, 556 individuals lost their lives in motor vehicle-related crashes, down from 583 in 2009. Three lost their lives on Oct. 10 in 2010. The overall decline continues a four-year downward trend in motor vehicle fatalities and marks the lowest number of recorded motor vehicle deaths in the state since the 1940s.
Poedubicky warned that despite the notable decrease in fatalities, recent studies have shown that poor driving behaviors persist in the state. He pointed to poll results from a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind released in August, which found that nearly 40 percent of drivers admitted to using a hand-held phone while driving, 25 percent of drivers admitted to texting, and 19 percent said they had consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Those numbers were even higher among drivers younger than 30.
“To reach our goals of zero fatalities on October 10, we need to see a concerted effort by the public to follow all laws and refrain from those bad behaviors that are a factor in 85 percent of fatal crashes,” Poedubicky said.
The Division encourages motorists to join the effort by adhering to traffic regulations including:
- Buckling seatbelts during every ride, no matter how short
- Obeying all speed limits
- Stopping to let pedestrians use designated crosswalks
- Using crosswalks (as a pedestrian) when traveling by foot
- Refraining from aggressive driving behaviors
- Refraining from driving if impaired
- Wearing a helmet if operating a motorcycle or riding a bicycle
- Focusing solely on driving, and avoiding distractions such as texting, making phone calls or using an iPod or other device
Additional information on “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day” is available at www.brakesonfatalities.org.
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