POLICE "LABOR" TO MAKE HOLIDAY SAFE
West Trenton, N.J. - After assisting with security
for the Republican National Convention Colonel Rick Fuentes,
Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced
that State Troopers will be out in force this weekend with
extra patrols to assist stranded motorists and look for aggressive,
drowsy or drinking drivers. Fuentes tasked troopers to concentrate
on the behaviors that most often contribute to fatal accidents.
"We will hold drivers accountable if they engage in behaviors
that lead to highway deaths," Colonel Fuentes said. The Superintendent
explained that these behaviors include speeding, driving aggressively,
distracted driving and, of course, driving while intoxicated.
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.
The results of a new survey by the U.S. Department of Transportation
shows that 37% of the driving population admitted to nodding
off at least once while driving. Forty-three percent of those
incidents occurred between noon and 9:00 p.m., so it's not
just late night or early morning drivers who are prone to
Inattentive driving is perhaps the single most unreported
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 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.
Although the seatbelt compliance rate has increased to 82%
in New Jersey, almost two-thirds of the traffic fatalities
in the state come from the ranks of non-seat belted occupants.
People come up with all sorts of reasons why they don't want
to wear seat belts, but these numbers provide an insurmountable
argument in favor of them.
The stepped-up enforcement will be in effect in all State
Police patrol areas, including the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden
State Parkway, Atlantic City Expressway and all interstate
The 2004 Labor Day Holiday officially begins at 12:01 a.m.
on Fri., Sept 3 and continues through midnight., Sept. 6.
During the 2003 Labor Day Holiday, 11 persons lost their lives
in 9 motor vehicle accidents along New Jersey roadways.
The State Police noted that 427 people have died in traffic-related
accidents so far this year (Jan. 1 through September 3) compared
to 502 highway deaths recorded during the same period last
year (2004). Superintendent Fuentes hopes that the public
will do their part to bring the traffic fatality rate even
further below last year's level.
"We want people to have as much fun as they can stand, but
then to consider the ride home a serious undertaking worthy
of a driver's planning and attention," said Fuentes. The Colonel
urges motorists to use these common sense safety tips: use
designated drivers when necessary, get enough sleep, leave
a little early and pay attention.
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