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Office of Public Information (609) 882-2000
Capt. Gerald Lewis - ext. 6516
SFC Stephen Jones - ext. 6513
Sgt. Julian Castellanos - ext. 6515
Det. Brian Polite - ext. 6514

July 02, 2009

New Jersey State Police Ready to "Defuse"
Traffic Violators and Illegal Fireworks Sales

West Trenton, New Jersey - State Troopers will not only enforce New Jersey's Traffic Laws, but also the illegal sale of fireworks. 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.

The stepped-up enforcement effort is 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. Possession of fireworks is a disorderly persons offense, but possession with the intent to sell is a fourth-degree offense, with a possible maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.

In any given year, the State Police confiscates between 500 and 1,000 cases of illegal fireworks or approximately six to eight tons of illegal explosives. "Fireworks are best left to trained professionals. Each year emergency rooms are filled with patients who are injured by illegal fireworks," said New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes.

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 along with assisting motorists with emergencies.

Colonel Fuentes feels there is plenty of room for improvement in traffic safety. "The goal we set each year is for a fatality free holiday. We can only reach that goal if the motoring public adheres to the driving behaviors that constitute safe driving," said 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 2009 July 4th holiday officially begins at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 and continues through 6:00 am on Monday, July 6th. During the 2008 July 4th holiday, 9 persons lost their lives as a result of 8 motor vehicle accidents on New Jersey roadways. So far this year, 277 people have died in traffic-related accidents compared to 273 highway deaths recorded during the same period last year.

"The slight increase in fatalities from last year is disturbing, it means we have to get back on track to decrease those fatality numbers," said Fuentes.

In addition to increased land-based safety responsibilities, Colonel Fuentes stressed that personnel assigned to the State Police Marine Bureau will be patrolling the waterways throughout the summer boating season. Enforcement activities will focus on boaters drinking alcoholic beverages, using illegal drugs, 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; persons born after Jan. 1, 1979 must obtain a state boating safety certificate and have that certificate in their possession when operating any power vessel; persons born on or before Dec. 31, 1978 must have a state boating safety certificate in their possession when operating a personal watercraft and operators on non-tidal waters must have a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission boating license in addition to a state boating safety certificate. Power vessel operators without a boating safety certificate will be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $500.

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