NEW JERSEY – This Memorial Day will not only be kicking off summer, but a statewide traffic safety campaign as well.
Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety announced today the start of “101 Days of Summer,” a traffic safety campaign running from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
“Ensuring the safety of New Jersey residents and visitors is our top priority and that means making sure our roadways are safe for all who use them, especially during the busy summer travel season,” said Attorney General Grewal. “New Jersey’s recreational and entertainment destinations create heavy travel demands on our roadways during the summer. We are working to ensure that New Jersey residents and visitors arrive at their destinations safely.”
Attorney General Grewal made the announcement at a seaside press conference in Asbury Park, a perfect location to represent what the Jersey Shore area has to offer during the summer. The shore sees some of the busiest and most dangerous traffic during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that the increase in holiday travelers, including alcohol-impaired drivers, nearly doubles the number of automotive deaths during the summer months than during the rest of the year combined. Crash statistics confirmed this, demonstrating that there is a definite increase in fatal crashes, alcohol-related crashes, and young-driver crashes between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day in NJ.
In 2017 alone, New Jersey saw 137 motor vehicle occupants, 48 pedestrians, and 5 bicyclists lose their lives in crashes on roadways during that period – more than a third of the total lives lost that year.
“Although New Jersey’s highways remain some of the safest in the nation, every injury and every loss of life is one too many,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “For the next three months we’ll be working with our partners in New Jersey’s law enforcement and traffic safety communities to reduce the risks associated with summer travel, prevent crashes, and save lives.”
‘101 Days of Summer” will be ramping up enforcement with supplemental patrols, sobriety checkpoints, “Drunk Driver Mobile Patrols,” the “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt enforcement campaign, as well as task force partnerships and traffic safety details alongside other law enforcement and traffic safety agencies.
“Whether you’re behind the wheel of a car or operating a boat, everyone can help make this an enjoyable summer by practicing safe and responsible behaviors,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “In order help support this safety campaign and promote a safe driving and boating environment for all, our troopers will be on the lookout for any motorists or boaters that may create a hazard for others on our roads and waterways.”
While summer is especially fun for teens that have off from school, that also means there are more teens on the road. In 2016, more than1,050 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a teen driver during those 101 days of summer.
“From prom night to beach trips, this is the time of year when teen drivers are involved in an increased number of auto accidents,” said Lamont O. Repollet, Commissioner of Education. “It’s incumbent upon parents and educators to talk with young drivers about the hazards of distractions, nighttime driving and speeding.”
“Growing up in New Jersey, I can tell you that there is nothing better than a day on the beach at the Jersey Shore or visiting one of the many state parks or points of interest,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Getting our residents and tourists to and from these destinations safely is always our highest priority. “
Summer travelers and tourists can find real time travel information at the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s 511nj.org website and phone systems.
Stay safe while on the road this summer by following these tips:
- Make sure you and your passengers wear seatbelts for every trip. Keep children restrained in properly installed child seats.
- Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Always have a designated driver available.
- In order to maintain proper traffic flow, keep right unless passing on our multi-lane highways. Improper lane usage is a major contributing factor to unnecessary traffic congestion.
- Obey the speed limit.
- Avoid distractions while driving, especially texting or talking on cell phones.
- Stay alert behind the wheel and be prepared for slowing traffic, lane shifts, and important safety signage.
- Slow down for emergency or construction vehicles and move over to an adjacent lane if possible.
- Prior to summer travel, check the oil, tires, and fluid levels in your car to avoid a breakdown. If you do break down, call for help immediately.
- Don’t leave kids or dogs in a hot car. On summer days, parked cars can reach deadly temperatures in a short period of time.
- Make sure that new drivers in your family are capable drivers and in compliance with the provisions of their graduated license. Those provisions can be found on the Division of Highway Traffic website.