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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Public Information Office (609) 882-2000
Capt. Albert Della Fave  x6514
A/Lt. Gerald Lewis  x6516
A/Sgt. Stephen Jones  x6513
Tpr II J Hengemuhle  x6515

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 01, 2005


 
 
STATE POLICE URGE MOTORISTS TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND WITHOUT A "BANG"

WEST TRENTON - State troopers are hoping to cruise through this holiday weekend without hearing the bang of serious auto crashes or illegal fireworks-both of which can ruin anyone's Fourth of July.

Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, sees that there is plenty of room for improvements in traffic safety. "Last year's Fourth of July was tragic in terms of lost lives on our state's roadways. Knowing that alcohol was a factor in almost half of those deaths, our troopers will be merciless in their enforcement of the D.W.I. laws," said Colonel Fuentes.

State Troopers will continue to partner with local and county law enforcement officers in a high intensity enforcement program targeting drivers who operate under the influence of alcohol. Extra Troopers will be mobilized around the state to identify drinking and drowsy drivers, and will be ready to assist motorist with emergencies.

As part of the overall holiday safety program, increased numbers of uniformed and plain clothed State Troopers will be assigned to monitor traffic and large public gatherings.

Troopers will also be watching for another Independence Day danger; fireworks. Each year emergency rooms are full of patients who are injured by illegal fireworks. In an effort to prevent injuries and property damage, State Police have stepped-up enforcement activities during the summer "fireworks season," confiscating fireworks wherever found. It is a crime to sell, use, and/or possess any kind of fireworks including firecrackers, Roman candles, M80's, cherry bombs, salutes, and even sparklers. In any given year, the State Police confiscate between 500 and 1,000 cases of illegal fireworks or approximately six to eight tons of illegal explosives.

The 2005 July 4th holiday officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 1st and continues through midnight on Monday July 4th. During the 2004 July 4th holiday, 18 persons lost their lives as a result of 16 motor vehicle accidents on New Jersey roadways. So far this year, 299 people have died in traffic-related accidents compared to 311 highway deaths recorded during the same period last year.

In addition to increased land-based safety responsibilities, Colonel Fuentes stressed that 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.

New Jersey's boating laws and regulations require that operators of personal watercraft be at least 16 years of age; that persons born after Jan. 1, 1979 obtain a state boating safety certificate and have that certificate in their possession when operating any power vessel; that person born on or before Dec. 31, 1978 have a state boating safety certificate in their possession when operating a personal watercraft and that operators on non-tidal waters have a New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles boating license in addition to a state boating safety certificate. Power vessel operators without a boating certificate will be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $500.

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