STATE POLICE TO PATROL "ROUND THE CLOCK"
THROUGHOUT JULY 4TH HOLIDAY
West Trenton- Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent of the
New Jersey State Police, today called on all New Jersey drivers to put highway safety "first on the list"
during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and throughout the entire summer driving season.
Colonel Fuentes announced that throughout the summer season,
state troopers across the state will participate in a nationwide high intensity enforcement program
targeting drivers who operate under the influence of alcohol. The "You Drink and Drive…You Lose"
campaign was created in response to a recent rise in alcohol-related fatalities nationwide.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the 42,116 people killed
on our nation's roads in 2001, 17,448 or 41% were alcohol-related. In 2002, 17,970 people were killed
in an alcohol-related crash, which represents approximately 42% of the year's 42,850 total motor vehicle
fatalities. The stepped-up enforcement campaign will run through July and will be in effect in all State
Police patrol areas, including the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Atlantic City
Expressway, and all interstate highways.
The State Police will maximize patrol resources throughout the 48-hour
July 4th holiday period and urged drivers to stay alert during their summer driving trips. On Thursday
highway safety officials gathered at Molly Pitcher service area on the Turnpike to remind motorists that
state troopers, county and municipal police officers will not only focus on DWI violators, but will also
pay particular attention to those not wearing their seat belts, as well as, the inattentive, careless and
drowsy driver as they go about their business of enforcing the state's traffic laws and promoting safe driving practices.
As part of the overall highway safety and enforcement program, increased
numbers of state troopers will be assigned to high visibility tactical patrol units to monitor traffic using
state-of-the-art speed enforcement technology. Troopers will also be moving around the state to identify
the drunk and drinking driver and will also staff stationary sobriety checkpoints in all State Police patrol areas.
The 2003 July 4th holiday officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on Thurs., July 3rd
and continues through midnight on Sun., July 6th. During the 2002 July 4th holiday, six persons lost
their lives as a result of five motor vehicle accidents on New Jersey roadways. 318 people have died in
traffic-related accidents so far this year (Jan. 1 through June 28) compared to 358 highway deaths recorded
during the same period last year (2002) - a 11.1 percent drop in overall highway deaths.
In addition to increased highway safety responsibilities, Colonel
Fuentes advised that personnel assigned to the State Police Marine Patrol Bureau will be patrolling the
ocean, bays, inter-coastal waterways, rivers and lakes throughout the summer boating season. Enforcement
activities will focus on drunk and drinking boaters and persons recklessly operating personal
watercraft (jet skis) and other power 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 persons born on or before Dec. 31, 1978 have 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.
The New Jersey State Police also issued a reminder to New Jersey
residents and visitors that all firework are illegal to possess and use and that it is a crime to sell,
use, and/or possess any kind of fireworks-including Chinese firecrackers, Roman candles, M80's, cherry bombs,
salutes, M100's, sparklers, etc.
The State Police noted that the vast majority of illegal fireworks are
brought into New Jersey by adults and, as a result of such irresponsible actions, a disproportionate number
of children suffer injuries. In an effort to prevent injuries and property damage, State Police step-up
enforcement activities during the summer "fireworks season" confiscating illegal fireworks wherever found.
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.
Possession of illegal fireworks is a disorderly person offense and is
punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail. Possession with intent to sell is a Fourth
Degree crime, punishable by fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 18 months in jail. And, possession of destructive
devices is a Third Degree crime with fines of up to $10,000 and incarceration of up to three to five years in jail.
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