New Years Looks Like N.J.ís First Fatality Free Holiday
West Trenton, N.J. -- The goal of a fatality-free holiday period on New Jersey roads may have been realized at last. Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today released preliminary statistics that show zero fatal accidents for the New Years holiday period, which began at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, December 31st and ran through 6:00 a.m., Monday, January 4th. This would be the first fatality-free holiday period in State Police records, which go back as far as 1986.
The preliminary numbers could be affected by any crashes that are reported late by municipalities, or if a victim of an accident that occurred during the holiday period succumbs to his or her injuries within 30 days of the crash.
Holiday periods are defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation and have ranged from one day to five days. The previous best record in New Jersey was two persons killed over the 48-hour New Years holiday in 2003-2004. The worst record was for Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays in 1996, each of which saw 23 roadway deaths.
Overall, the preliminary year end traffic fatality numbers stand at 588, which is 2 people lower than last year’s total of 590. 2008 fatal accidents were tragic for many families, but they were much improved over previous years and represented a 20-year low. Pedestrians made up 157 of the total deaths, which was 19 people higher than 2008.
Reducing traffic fatalities is a Herculean task involving many different partners in the public and private sectors. The New Jersey State Police work together with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the Department of Transportation, local and county police agencies and organizations such as M.A.D.D. to enforce traffic laws and educate the public on safe driving behaviors.
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