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OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 30, 2006


 
 
STATE POLICE AND PARTNERS JOIN FORCES TO KEEP
JULY 4TH HOLIDAY SAFE

West Trenton, NJ - 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.

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.

Troopers working in partnership with the Department of Consumer Affairs and other law enforcement agencies will be monitoring and enforcing the states Fireworks Regulation Law. The stepped up enforcement effort is the result of an initiative by New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber to stem the flow of illegal fireworks into New Jersey from other states. Enforcement activities are geared to ensure strict adherence to the law. 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 New Jersey without a valid permit.

Patrols will also monitor motorists who venture into Pennsylvania or surrounding states to purchase fireworks and transport them back into New Jersey. Thirty-eight citations have been issued since Wednesday, and approximately 1,350 pounds of fireworks seized with an estimated value of $7,700.

"Because safety is our number one concern during Fourth of July celebrations, we encourage New Jersey residents to attend community fireworks displays that are handled by professionals with the appropriate permits," Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts said.

Each year emergency rooms are full of patients who are injured by illegal fireworks. 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.

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 patrols will be mobilized around the state to identify drinking and drowsy drivers and will be ready to assist motorists with emergencies.

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 lives lost on our state 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.

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.

The 2006 July 4th holiday officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 30th and continues through midnight on Tuesday July 4th. During the 2005 July 4th holiday, 8 persons lost their lives as a result of 4 motor vehicle accidents on New Jersey roadways. So far this year, 333 people have died in traffic-related accidents compared to 319 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 any 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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