The New Jersey State Police, today announced that all stations will be mustering the maximum amount of troopers to enforce the laws and aid holiday travelers this Labor Day weekend. Patrols will be out in force on the
roadways as well as the waterways with a focus on driving down the behaviors that lead to serious and fatal crashes. Chief among those actions is driving while intoxicated by either alcohol or drugs.
Friday’s potential impacts of the winds and possible rain from Hurricane
Earl may make travel in shore communities dicey. The storm is likely to
have an even larger impact on swimmers and boaters in the ocean and
bays, all of whom should heed any posted warnings and restrictions.
Travelers should plan for volume and weather-related delays on shore
bound roads and prepare accordingly.
Drivers should take the very basic wet weather prep steps of checking
wiper blades, tires and lights. They should fill up the gas tank and
check the oil and radiator fluid levels before leaving home base. It’s
also a good idea to keep some water or soft drinks in a small cooler in
case of a major traffic jam.
During long holiday weekends, fatigue often contributes to crashes. Many
travelers try to squeeze every last minute out of the long Labor Day
weekend, and end up driving while exhausted. Nationally, drowsy driving
causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries
and 1,550 deaths. A survey by the U.S. Department of Transportation
showed that 37% of the driving population admitted to nodding off at
least once while driving. Forty-three percent of those incidents
occurred between noon and 9:00 p.m., so it’s not just late night or
early morning drivers who are prone to fall asleep.
The State Police will continue to target drivers and their passengers
who are not wearing seat belts including children not properly secured
in approved child restraint safety seats. Although the front seat
seatbelt compliance rate is at a record high, 93.7% in New Jersey, more
than half of the traffic fatalities in the state come from the ranks of
non-seat belted occupants. People come up with all sorts of reasons why
they don’t want to wear seat belts, but these numbers provide an
insurmountable argument in favor of them.
The 2010 Labor Day Holiday officially begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday,
September 3rd and continues until 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 7th.
During the 2009 Labor Day holiday, five people lost their lives on New
Jersey roadways. One was a pedestrian, but incredibly, the other four
were all on motorcycles. Overall, statewide traffic fatalities are at an
all time low, but that’s still nothing to celebrate. So far this year,
362 people have died in New Jersey vehicle crashes. That’s about 12%
lower than last year’s historic lows.