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Office of Public Information (609) 882-2000
Capt. Al Della Fave ext. 6514
Lt. Gerald Lewis ext. 6516
Sgt. Stephen Jones ext. 6513
Sgt. Jeanne Hengemuhle ext. 6515

August 31, 2006

Read 'em and Weep:
Fatal Accident Numbers Paint a Sobering Story

West Trenton, N.J. -- There have been 464 motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey so far this year. That's 11 more than the same time last year. Leaving plenty of room for improvement, these statistics should make Labor Day travelers acutely aware of the importance of safe driving behaviors as they venture out on the roads.

"The number of fatal accidents shows that New Jerseyans are failing to take safe driving seriously," Colonel Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said. "There is no other activity in which people make life and death decisions on such a regular basis." The Superintendent explained that these life and death decisions include speed, aggressive driving, driving while distracted or tired and, of course, driving while intoxicated. Colonel Rick Fuentes tasked troopers to concentrate on those behaviors since they often contribute to fatal accidents. Additionally, law enforcement will be looking for people who refuse to obey the seat belt laws.

This year's national DWI program, named "Drunk Driving: Over the Limit. Under Arrest," will be vigorously supported by officers throughout the Garden State. The crackdown is a comprehensive prevention effort focused on conducting highly visible law enforcement related efforts to deter impaired driving.

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, know your route of travel and make frequent stops.

The Colonel urges motorists to avoid potential problems by using designated drivers, getting enough sleep, leaving early to beat peak travel times and by paying attention at all times.

Inattentive driving is perhaps the single most common factor leading to motor vehicle crashes. Much attention has been given to mobile phone usage, but other common distractions include mobile handheld computers, map reading, sound system adjustments, built-in video/game monitors and dealing with children in the back seat.

The 2006 Labor Day Holiday officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, September 1st and continues through midnight, September 4th. During each of the previous two Labor Day holidays, 15 persons lost their lives in accidents along New Jersey roadways. Superintendent Fuentes hopes that the public will do their part to reduce traffic fatalities well below those levels.

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