BRICK – From January 1 until April 25 of this year, there were about 676 motor vehicle accidents in the township, and 32 to 36 percent of those were rear-end collisions due to driver inattentiveness, said Police Chief James Riccio. That number is about 50 fewer than last year at the same time, he added.
Chief Riccio said there is no way to tell if the crashes were the result of texting or speeding, but the top four intersections for accidents in Brick are Chambers Bridge Road/Route 70; Cedar Bridge Avenue/Route 70; Route 70/Route 88; and Brick Boulevard/Beaverson Boulevard, which are all county or state roads.
The police have traffic concerns in a number of areas of town, which are often times the result of roads no longer being able to handle the volume of traffic that has resulted from a growing population, he said.
Two roadways in particular – Route 88 and Mantoloking Road – are single lane roadways, and with not enough property to widen those roads, “we seem to be stuck with what we’ve got,” Chief Riccio said.
To make matters worse, a large-scale construction project is planned for the entirety of Mantoloking Road starting in September, when New Jersey Natural Gas has scheduled a large pipe replacement, he said. The project should be completed in sections, he added.
Also, starting in May, aging water mains in the Breton Woods neighborhood will be replaced since many of the older communities are in need of infrastructure replacements.
Patrol cars are routinely positioned in problem areas doing selective enforcement where there have been complaints about things like speeding or running stop signs, the police chief said.
Selective enforcement has an educational piece, he added.
“The police probably pull over twice the amount of cars that they issue tickets to. To me, it’s a deterrent not to do it again,” Chief Riccio said. “If I believe that pulling you over will deter you from doing it again, there’s no reason to issue a ticket, so it is up to the officer’s discretion.”
The police chief and Police Sergeant Keith Donnelly of the Traffic Safety Unit provided traffic statistics from September 2018 until now, when township police issued 4,899 traffic summonses, which include 2295 for moving violations such as speeding, running red lights and talking on cell phones, and 205 parking violations.
Parking violations are typically issued for parking in a handicapped zone, parking in a fire zone, or improper parking, Sgt. Donnelly explained.
More than half of the revenue generated from traffic summonses goes to the state, with the remainder earmarked for the township’s budget, Chief Riccio said.
Asked if police officers are told to issue a certain number of traffic summonses, Sgt. Donnelly said “is absolutely not true.”
However, the police department sometimes use Comprehensive Federal highway safety grants (the amount and frequency of grants vary) to target particular issues. For example, the department most recently used grant money to target distracted drivers.
Depending on the amount of the grant, police officers might volunteer to work overtime a couple times a week for a four-hour block of time (officers are chosen by seniority) and issue summonses for that particular behavior.
Sgt. Donnelly said those officers could issue eight to nine summonses during those four-hour shifts.
“It’s going to be a very busy summer,” he said. “Have patience and drive slow.”
“And pay attention,” Chief Riccio added.
If you see someone driving erratically, try to get the license plate number, the type of vehicle, and the direction it’s traveling and call the police at 732-262-1100.