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Sgt. Julian Castellanos - ext. 6515

August 18, 2008

Fatal Accident Numbers Decline
Education and Enforcement Combined To Lower Fatalities

West Trenton, N.J. - There have been 375 motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey so far this year. That’s 67 less than the same time last year, an almost twenty percent decrease. These statistics prove that New Jersey’s drivers are starting to get the message.

The investment in educating New Jersey’s drivers in conjunction with vigorous enforcement has started to pay dividends. The decrease in the number of fatal accidents indicates that New Jerseyans are starting 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 continue concentrating on these behaviors since they often contribute to fatal accidents. Additionally, law enforcement will be looking for people who refuse to obey the seat belt laws.

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 2008 Labor Day Holiday officially begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 29th and continues through 6:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 2nd . During the previous Labor Day holiday, 9 persons lost their lives in accidents on New Jersey roadways. Superintendent Fuentes hopes that the public will continue to do their part to reduce traffic fatalities.

In addition to increased land-based safety responsibilities, personnel assigned to the State Police Marine Bureau will be patrolling all the waterways throughout the Labor Day weekend. Enforcement activities will focus on boaters drinking alcohol and persons recklessly operating personal watercraft vehicles (jet skis) and other powered vessels. Marine troopers will also be checking to see that boat operators have obtained the proper licenses to operate the watercraft. A good synopsis of boating requirements can be found on the State Police website at under boating safety.

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