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Public Information Unit:
Lt. Al Della Fave  X6516
SFC Kevin Rehmann (609)882-2000  X6515
Sgt. Gerald Lewis   X6514
Tpr. Stephen Jones   X6513

April 08, 2004

State Police Wish Holiday Drivers
An "Eggstremely" Safe Easter Holiday

State Police and Highway Safety Officials Team Up To Reduce Fatal Accidents & Increase Highway Safety During Easter Holiday

West Trenton, NJ - Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and Roberto Rodriguez, Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, today announced that State Troopers and New Jersey traffic and highway safety officers would enhance enforcement and traffic safety activities throughout the 96-hour Easter holiday period.

Colonel Fuentes has scheduled additional Troopers to focus on removing aggressive, inattentive, fatigued and drunk drivers from our roadways during the 2004 Easter holiday. Easter is one the busiest travel periods because it coincides with Spring Break for many schools. Those additional motorists stretch the resources of police and travel support services.

Director Rodriguez noted that the goal of New Jersey's holiday effort is to improve public safety on the highways by reducing the incidence of dangerous driving behaviors and increasing seatbelt use. Current estimates put New Jersey's seatbelt compliance at 82%. Although that is higher than most states, it is not high enough. Statistics have shown that the remaining 18% of occupants account for approximately two-thirds of the traffic fatalities.

Throughout the 2004 Easter holiday-commencing at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 8 and ending at 12:00 midnight on Sunday, April 11-extra State Troopers and local police officers will be working around the clock to aid stranded motorists and keep traffic flowing smoothly. Enforcing the speed limit and other motor vehicle regulations will be key components in the holiday safety initiative.

According to Colonel Fuentes, additional troopers will be assigned to drunk driving patrols and high visibility tactical patrol units will monitor motorists' driving utilizing radar and laser speed tracking technology. The newly unveiled New Jersey State Police Motorcycle Unit will compliment patrols on the Garden State Parkway. Traffic safety reminders and speed warnings will be posted on overhead and roadside message boards along the busier interstate highways, the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway.

The New Jersey State Police Homeland Security Branch will also deploy personnel to strategic infrastructures and critical public transportation sites. Although there are no substantiated terrorist threats, the branch will remain ever vigilant in their mission to deter and prevent terrorist activity.

Highway Safety Director Rodriguez noted that numerous programs sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will focus on the most frequent causes of holiday fatalities-driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fatigue, careless or aggressive driving and failure to wear occupant restraints.

During the 2003 Easter holiday period, 9 persons lost their lives on New Jersey roadways. From Jan. 1 through April 5, 147 people have died throughout the state as a result of fatal accidents - a 10.4 percent decrease from the 164 deaths recorded during the same period last year.

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