|Eric Heitmann became Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in March 2019.
The Division’s mission is to ensure the safe passage of all roadway users as the State of New Jersey moves toward its goal of zero roadway fatalities. To achieve its mission, the Division promotes statewide traffic safety programs through education, engineering and enforcement activities.
The bulk of the Division's funding comes from the Federal Government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The funding received by the Division is used to undertake state-wide traffic safety programs and is also dispersed to municipal, county, state government and law enforcement agencies, as well as non-profit organizations in the form of traffic safety grants.
A 25-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police, during which time he rose to the rank of Major, Eric is a nationally-recognized and well-respected expert in the field of traffic safety and accident investigation.
Eric spent 10 years assigned to the New Jersey State Police’s elite Fatal Accident Investigation Unit (FAIU) and served as the Unit Head. During his career he was responsible for the investigation, re-investigation, review, or reconstruction of thousands of motor vehicle crash investigations including many notable and high-profile investigations.
While assigned to the FAIU, Eric worked closely with NJDOT safety programs and the STRCC (Statewide Traffic Records Coordinating Committee) and was instrumental in the development of the State’s first electronic crash report (NJTR-1) and electronic data transfer of crash records between the New Jersey State Police, The NJ Turnpike Authority and the NJ Department of Transportation and NHTSA (FARS).
In 2009, Eric became the Troop D Traffic Officer for the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway and oversaw the traffic safety plan during the $7.2B widening of both roadways, receiving recognition from the Turnpike Authority for his efforts. Eric was then elevated to the traffic officer’s position responsible for traffic safety for the New Jersey State Police where he wrote and updated statewide traffic safety policies. Eric spent many years responsible for statistical reports regarding motor vehicle crashes and traffic enforcement.
From 2013 until his retirement in 2018, Eric was the Troop D Commander responsible for all policing services on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. This included the management and supervision of more than 400 State Troopers plus support staff, properties, and budget. Included were over 20,000 crash investigations per year, motor vehicle fatalities, motor vehicle law enforcement pursuits, uses of force, critical incident reviews, as well as the formulation of traffic safety plans and regulations.
During his time with State Police, Eric was instrumental in many traffic safety and investigative initiatives.
He worked with County Assistant Prosecutors and the Office of the NJ Attorney General to form the NJ Prosecutors Crash Association as well as develop A.G. Directive 2004-2, the “Joint Crash Investigative Protocol”.
He re-wrote and revolutionized the State’s Motor Vehicle Racetrack rules, which became a national model of motor vehicle racetrack safety. He earned a Bronze level technical inspection certification from the NHRA during his duties as head of the NJ Motor Vehicle Racing Unit within the NJSP Fatal Accident Investigation Unit.
Eric has taught numerous technical courses and has presented many workshops including crash investigation and courtroom testimony classes to NJSP recruits and detectives. He developed programs for presentation to first responders, NJDOT employees, school students, EMTs, and motor vehicle racetrack owners and operators. Eric developed and executed hands-on training for fatal accident investigators and is a certified Laser Technology mapping instructor.
Upon his retirement from the NJSP, Eric started a full-service transportation safety consulting firm focusing on traffic safety, motor vehicle crash investigations, traffic and fleet safety, training, and motor vehicle racing compliance.
A native of Warren County, Eric is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he studied Engineering and Economics. He received further training by Northwestern University in advanced crash investigation and attended numerous other classes and seminars in traffic safety and crash analysis.
Eric lives in Monmouth County with his wife and children.