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Office of Public Information (609) 882-2000
Capt. Gerald Lewis - ext. 6516
SFC Stephen Jones - ext. 6513
Sgt. Julian Castellanos - ext. 6515

May 21, 2009

Fatal Statistics "Dead" Even As Memorial Day Approaches

West Trenton, NJ - New Jersey State Police statistics show that 211 people have died in traffic-related accidents so far this year (Jan. 1 through May 20, 2009), which is equal to last year’s numbers from 2008. The stats show an encouraging decrease in driver, passenger and bicycle deaths, all of which are unfortunately offset by a disturbing increase in pedestrian deaths, up from 50 to 71 so far this year.

The 2009 Memorial Day holiday officially begins at 6:00 p.m. Friday, May 22 and continues until 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 26th. During the 2008 Memorial Day holiday, five persons lost their lives on New Jersey roadways.

State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes hopes that a well-informed and concerned public will do its part this weekend to decrease this number. "We are building on last year’s record lows in every sector but pedestrian fatalities," said Colonel Rick Fuentes. "Last year was a 20-year low for statewide fatalities on New Jersey roadways, and we must not forget the safe driving behaviors that led to that decrease."

"Our enforcement efforts this year will concentrate on intoxicated drivers, aggressive drivers, seatbelt usage, cell phone violators, and keeping pedestrians off the highways," added Fuentes.

In an effort to maintain a safe driving environment throughout the weekend, New Jersey troopers and local police will take part in the "Click-It or Ticket," campaign along with supplemental DWI Patrols. Law enforcement will utilize a zero tolerance approach.

Troopers and police officers will be providing traffic and boating safety tips to motorists, boaters and vacationers on a statewide basis as they utilize our highways and waterways. Law enforcement’s goal is to save lives with the ultimate objective of enjoying a fatality-free Memorial Day weekend.

"Memorial Day marks the start of the busy summer travel season, so there's no better time to remind motorists of the importance of practicing good driving behaviors to ensure their safety and that of their passengers and everyone else on the road," said Pam Fischer, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. "Regardless of where you're sitting in a motor vehicle, a seat belt is the simplest way to protect yourself in the event of a crash. Wearing a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a crash by as much as 75 percent," said Fischer.

Along with increased land-based safety responsibilities, personnel assigned to the State Police Marine Bureau will be patrolling all the waterways throughout the summer boating season. Enforcement activities will focus on boaters drinking alcohol and persons recklessly operating personal watercraft (jet skis) and other powered vessels. Marine troopers will also be checking to see that boat operators have obtained the proper licenses to operate watercraft. A good synopsis of boating requirements can be found on the State Police website at under boating safety.

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