Office of the Governor|
McGreevey signs "Safe Corridors" into law
Governor announces final report of Route 1 Safety Impact Team
(Lawrence Township) - Governor James E. McGreevey today further advanced his comprehensive “Safety First” initiative as he signed A3527 into law, a bill allowing the designation of “Safe Corridors” in New Jersey.
Joined by Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere, federal, state and local officials; representatives of the law enforcement community; and various motorist groups, the Governor reiterated his pledge to improve the safety of New Jersey highways.
“We know that our efforts to improve highway safety are a matter of life or death,” said McGreevey. “Tragically, New Jersey lost more than 700 lives in traffic accidents last year. While our efforts cannot bring back the loved ones we have lost, we are working to prevent accidents from occurring in the future with the signing of this new law.”
The new law authorizes the Commissioner of Transportation to designate segments of highways under the jurisdiction of the Department as "safe corridors" based upon accident rates, fatalities, traffic volume, and other highway traffic safety criteria. Fines are also doubled for certain motor vehicle violations committed within the corridors.
In addition, the law increases the minimum fines for violating the law or regulations concerning certain commercial motor vehicle equipment violations; requires the completion of a commercial driver’s improvement program to restore a suspended CDL; increases fines for out-of-state overweight trucks; and dedicates 50 percent of all “safe corridor” fines to a new Highway Safety Fund that will be used exclusively for highway safety projects and programs. Funds will be made available to NJ State Police and municipal police departments for education, enforcement, capital undertakings and other related measures that foster highway safety.
“For far too long there has been a lot of talk about what should be done to improve the safety of our highways,” said Lettiere. “Governor McGreevey’s “Safety First” initiative is an aggressive approach that has drawn national attention and helped decrease traffic-related deaths by nearly 12 percent since the beginning of the year, ensuring the safety of New Jersey’s working families.”
"New Jersey has the highest volume of traffic in the nation, so it's naive to think that motor vehicle accidents won't happen," said Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer. "With the signing of this legislation into law, we now have the responsibility and the ability to prevent some of these accidents and save lives."
"Hundreds of people are killed and thousands of others are injured on New Jersey highways each year," said Assemblyman Gary Guear (D-Mercer), bill sponsor and former Trenton police detective. "New and creative strategies must be employed to decrease the number of collisions and fatalities on New Jersey highways. This measure serves as a wake-up call to all motorists who have become lackadaisical in their driving. Safe driving is no accident."
"The proliferation of internal distractions such as cell phones and mobile entertainment systems has caused many motorists to approach driving too cavalierly," said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), bill sponsor. "Safe driving habits can protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other vehicles on our highways."
In addition to the bill signing, Governor McGreevey announced that the Route 1 Safety Impact Team has completed its final report containing short- and long-term recommendations for improving the safety of a 10-mile stretch of Route 1 in Mercer and Middlesex Counties.
The team is a first-in-the-nation collaborative effort between the NJDOT, NJTransit, the Federal Highway Administration, state and local law enforcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Governor announced $3 million in short-term improvements that will include upgrades to traffic signals, installation of new, larger signs, new pedestrian crosswalks and enhanced pavement markings.
Earlier this year, the Safety Impact Team reviewed an area of Route 1 between Franklin Corner Road in Lawrence Township and Ridge Road in South Brunswick. The 10-mile stretch was identified as a traffic hot spot having more than 677,000 vehicles traveling through the area daily in 2002. Nearly 1,400 accidents occurred there in the last two years.
The Governor also announced today designation of 12 other "Safe Corridors" throughout the State. They are: Route 1 from MP 20 to MP 30 between South Brunswick and Edison, Route 9 from MP 100 to 130 between Lakewood Township and Sayreville, Route 22 from MP 30 to MP 60 between Branchburg and Newark, Route 40 from MP 50 to MP 60 between Hamilton and
Egg Harbor, Route 46 from MP 30 to MP 60 between Netcong and West Paterson, Route 47 from MP 40 to MP 50 between Millville City and Vineland City, Route 73 from MP 20 to MP 30 between Voorhees and Maple Shade and Route 206 from MP 60 to MP 70 between Montgomery and Hillsborough townships.
In conjunction with the legislative measures and the creation of the Safety Impact Team, the Department of Transportation has taken other steps to increase highway safety including actively promoting the #77 Aggressive Driver hotline statewide; expediting the installation of 100 miles of safety barriers; allocating $20 million for engineering and technological highway improvements; adding 500 miles of raised pavement reflectors over the next two years; recording public safety announcements; and expanding driver education programs.