West Trenton, N.J. – The Labor Day weekend is considered the “unofficial” end of the summer, but don’t let it be the end of your life. There have been 337 motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey so far this year. Those deaths are comprised of 187 drivers, 59 passengers, 80 pedestrians, and 11 pedalcyclists.
“The numbers do not lie; fatal accidents continue to claim far too many lives on New Jersey’s roadways,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Troopers will be watching for drivers that engage in unsafe actions including speeding, talking or texting on a cell phone, and driving while intoxicated.”
This year’s national DWI program, “DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER” is a prevention effort by law enforcement to deter impaired driving. State troopers and local police will be supporting this campaign during the Labor Day holiday period. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 10,000 people die each year on roadways due to drunk driving. They say that would be equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing each year. It wouldn’t be long before public pressure forced a change in aviation, yet drunk driving continues without large scale public outrage.
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, make frequent stops, and share the driving responsibilities with someone else.
Distracted driving is perhaps the single most common factor leading to motor vehicle crashes. Distracted driving includes tuning a radio, applying makeup, reading, tending to children or pets, eating and drinking, and using a cell phone by texting or talking.
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 unbelted occupants.
The 2013 Labor Day holiday officially begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 30th and continues through 5:59 a.m., Tuesday, September 2nd. During the previous Labor Day holiday, three people lost their lives in accidents on New Jersey roadways. Superintendent Fuentes hopes that the public will continue to do their part to make this a zero-fatality holiday.
In addition to increased land-based safety responsibilities, personnel assigned to the State Police Marine Bureau will be patrolling the waterways. 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.