Skip to main navigationSkip to News Headlines
Global Navigation
Office of The Attorney General
OAG Home
OAG Home Superintendent's Bio
Superintendent's Bio
> NJSP Home  |  > Public Information  |  > News Releases
2005 News Releases NJSP Badge



Public Information Office (609) 882-2000
Capt. Albert Della Fave  x6514
A/Lt. Gerald Lewis  x6516
Sgt. Stephen Jones  x6513
A/Sgt. Jeanne Hengemuhle  x6515

December 21, 2005

The Ghost of Holiday Safety Imparts Wisdom

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…or so the song goes. But the New Jersey State Police realize that these warm wishes may never be realized without a visit from the Ghost of Holiday Safety. How do you think Scrooge, in his ghost inspired enthusiasm, was able to avoid slipping on the ice-fouled streets of London while carrying the prize goose to Cratchit's house? The Ghost of Holiday Safety, Scrooge's last-and usually unmentioned-spirit visitor, had fitted old Ebenezer with ice-gripper thermal boots, Gortex gloves and a warm wool cap to avoid an unpleasant ending to a really good story.

The Ghost of Holiday Safety still speaks to us today, leaving us juicy tidbits of advice to make our holidays happy and safe. These lessons in personal security and motoring safety cannot be ignored and we would be remiss if we did not pass them on.

Vehicle Safety

  • Foul weather driving   Make sure your windshield wipers, tires, brakes and lights are all in good condition. Leave extra room for stopping on wet and especially icy roadways. Assume your trip will take longer than it usually would during non-holiday, fair weather travels.
  • Actions of "the other guy"   Be aware of those around you. Maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of you and watch for traffic at all intersections. Monitor traffic several hundred feet ahead of you for dangerous activity since those actions will affect you in a matter of seconds.
  • Driving at your best   Make sure you get enough rest before long drives. Avoid distractions such as tending to children in the back seats, using handheld electronic devices and talking on handheld phones. Careless driving is both dangerous and illegal. Of course, do not drive after consuming alcohol. Every drink reduces a driver's ability to quickly react to traffic conditions.
  • Prepared for action   If you have a soda in your hand, you can't drive like a champion when that critical moment arrives. It is crucial to wear safety belts correctly whether your going across the country or around the block. Statistics show that the 14 percent of those driving without wearing seatbelts account for more than half of the traffic fatalities.

Personal Safety
One of the most important factors to personal safety is being aware of your surroundings. Tune in to what is taking place in your immediate and distant space. Be alert to the following hazards:

  • Invasion of Your Personal Space - Criminals will try to get physically closer to you by asking a seemingly innocent question - Do you have the time?; Could you help me, I'm lost?; Do you have any spare change? It is okay to be rude and get loud if necessary. Don't let someone get close, step back and tell them not to get any closer. Don't fall prey to someone trying to distract you, someone offering assistance when you didn't ask for any, someone asking for assistance. Criminals will try every tactic imaginable to distract you and commit a crime.
  • Parking Lots - Look around and see who and what is around you before unlocking your door and getting out; check vans or trucks that may be parked next to you for persons inside.
  • Automatic Teller Machines - If you have to use one, use it during the day and take a friend; if you have to use one at night, drive around the building, look for people loitering or trying to hide. Look at vehicles parked in the vicinity for passengers sitting inside. Try to use machines that are inside establishments.
  • Robberies - Don't carry all your valuables or any irreplaceable articles. Keep money, credit cards, etc., in your pockets and other areas of concealment. If you carry a purse, carry it close to your body.
  • Car Jacking - Keep doors locked, windows up; pay attention at intersections; leave space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you; look for escape routes; plan your route to avoid unfamiliar or dangerous areas.
  • Vehicle Security - Keep your vehicles locked at all times. Do not visibly display items in your vehicle such as briefcases, purses, backpacks, cell phones, loose change, bags or packages.

The New Jersey State Police and local police will field extra patrols during the holiday season to assist the motoring public. Working with Department of Transportation Emergency Service Patrols, these officers will be helping stranded travelers, responding to emergencies and enforcing the laws. There will also be patrols specifically targeting aggressive drivers, drinking drivers and occupants not wearing seat belts.

Last year's statistics leave plenty of room for holiday safety improvement. During the 2004 Christmas holiday, there were 15 fatalities in 13 separate crashes. Pedestrians accounted for five of those deaths, and tragically, alcohol intoxication led to six fatalities.

The New Year's period saw five people die in five accidents. Two pedestrians died at the hands of intoxicated drivers and one person on a bicycle was also struck and killed.

The 2005 Christmas holiday period begins at 6:00 p.m., Friday, December 23, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, December 26. So far this year, fatalities are at 701, six ahead of last year during the same time period. The New Jersey total for traffic fatalities in 2004 was 727.

Federal D.O.T. statistics estimate that 716 person's lives may be saved during the Christmas and New Year's holiday period because they will wear their safety belts and an additional 201 lives could be saved if all occupants wore seat belts.

Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police is asking drivers to slow down when approaching accident scenes or troopers conducting motor vehicle stops. Troopers have continued to be involved in, or narrowly escape crashes while stopped for these situations. "Motorists should be prepared to stop or change lanes to allow troopers space to do their jobs safely," Fuentes said.

# # #

    Top of Page
Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Legal Statement | Accessibility Statement spacer
NJ Home Logo
Divisional: NJSP Home | Contact NJSP | About NJSP | NJSP News | NJSP FAQs | Recruiting
Departmental: OAG Home | Contact OAG | About OAG | OAG News | OAG FAQs
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright © State of New Jersey
The State of New Jersey Office of The Attorney General (Dept. of Law & Public Safety) The State of New Jersey NJ Home Services A to Z Departments/Agencies OAG Frequently Asked Questions