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  Director's Message I Message Archive I Biography
       
HTS Director Pam Fischer

Director's Message
October 2008

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Pam Fischer
Director
 
  Put the Brakes on Fatalities
  Thank you for visiting the Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s website. Charged with ensuring the safety of all who use our roadways, the Division sponsors comprehensive public education and awareness campaigns, as well as law enforcement initiatives that address a broad array of traffic safety issues.
  Recently, the Division worked with police departments, and local and state government, businesses and community groups on a national program known as “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day.” Held on October 10, the annual initiative asked motorists to buckle-up, every ride; drive the posted speed limit; and avoid distractions, in an effort to work towards zero fatalities for one, 24-hour period. While the program shines the spotlight on one day, it’s also designed to serve as the incentive for changing driving behaviors year-round. Unfortunately, this year on October 10, two lives were tragically lost on New Jersey’s roadways.
  In past years, we have lost an average of two lives every day in our State as a result of traffic crashes. However, overall in 2008, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in traffic fatalities. As of mid-October, the number of lives lost in traffic crashes was down nearly 22 percent from the same time in 2007. While these numbers indicate gains are being made in highway safety, they still represent a tremendous loss for the families and friends of the more than 440 individuals who senselessly lost their lives in crashes this year.
  Earlier this year, the New Jersey Teen Driver Study Commission issued a comprehensive report with 47 recommendations aimed at reducing motor crashes, the leading cause of death for teens. Many of the key recommendations are being actively addressed through the Legislature and various government agencies, including the Office of the Attorney General, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety and the Motor Vehicle Commission. In mid-September, Attorney General Anne Milgram issued a directive banning municipal prosecutors from offering or accepting plea agreements for Graduated Driver License (GDL) holders who are convicted of a point carrying motor vehicle violation. The first recommendation to be implemented statewide, the directive ensures that new drivers who violate the law cannot plead down to a lesser charge, guaranteeing that they receive the remedial, public safety sanctions (training and license suspension) in the GDL system designed not only to protect them but everyone on the road.
  Legislation has also been introduced to implement a number of other key recommendations outlined in the Commission’s report including: requiring a parent/teen orientation as a pre-requisite for obtaining a permit; displaying an “identifier” on a vehicle driven by a teen holding a permit or provisional license; revising the nighttime and passenger restrictions; and, increasing the amount of behind- the-wheel practice driving during the permit phase. In addition, production is underway on a GDL training video for police officers. Also a recommendation of the commission, the 10-minute video will provide police with critical information on both the GDL and the tragic consequences teens can face if they violate this law.
 

A copy of the Teen Driver Study Commission Report is available on the Division’s web site at www.nj.gov/oag/hts/teen-driver-report.html, along with a wealth of information on many other traffic safety programs and initiatives. Please visit the site often, as new information is added regularly, and feel free to download our educational materials. Enjoy the Fall and stay safe.

 
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