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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
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Det II Brian Polite - ext. 6514

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 1, 2010


 
 
New Jersey State Police Step Up Enforcement For The 4th of July Weekend

West Trenton, New Jersey - State troopers will not only enforce New Jersey’s Traffic Laws, but also the illegal possession of fireworks during the 4th of July holiday weekend.  In an effort to prevent injuries and property damage, State Police have stepped-up enforcement activities during the summer confiscating fireworks wherever found, and stopping drunk and aggressive drivers in their tracks.

State Troopers will continue to partner with local and county law enforcement officers in a high- intensity enforcement program targeting drivers who operate under the influence of alcohol. 
Additional patrols will be mobilized statewide to identify drinking and drowsy drivers and responding to motorists calls for service.

Colonel Rick Fuentes Superintendent of State Police believes feels there is room for improvement in traffic safety. “The goal we set each year is for a fatality free holiday. We can only attain that goal if the motoring public adheres to the driving behaviors that constitute safe driving,” said Colonel Fuentes.

As part of the overall holiday safety program, increased numbers of uniformed and plain clothed state troopers will be assigned to monitor traffic and large public gatherings. 

The 2010 July 4th holiday officially begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 2nd and continues through 6:00 a.m. on Monday, July 5th.  During the 2009 July 4th holiday, four persons lost their lives in four crashes on New Jersey roadways.  So far this year, 244 people have died in traffic accidents compared to 275 highway deaths recorded during the same period in 2009.

“The decrease in fatalities from last year is encouraging, but we would like to reduce the number even more this year,” said Fuentes.
           
“Remaining safe on our highways is a shared responsibility,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer.  “This summer, we will be re-emphasizing the importance of pedestrians always using crosswalks, and reminding motorists that, when approaching crosswalks, they should be alert for pedestrians and stop and allow them to cross safely.”

In addition to increased land-based safety responsibilities, Colonel Fuentes stressed that personnel assigned to the State Police Marine Bureau will be patrolling the waterways throughout the summer boating season.  Enforcement activities will focus on boaters drinking alcoholic beverages, using illegal drugs, and persons recklessly operating personal watercraft (jet skis) and other powered vessels.
           
New Jersey’s boating laws and regulations require that all power vessel operators regardless of date of birth, possess a New Jersey boat safety certificate. No one 12 years of age or under are permitted to operate a power vessel in New Jersey. Individuals who are at least 13 years of age, but less than 16 years of age, who are in possession of a boat safety certificate, may operate a power vessel with less than 10 horsepower. Those who are at least 16 years of age, who are in possession of a boat safety certificate, may operate a power vessel or personal watercraft. Power vessel operators who are not in possession of a boat safety certificate will be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $500.

The stepped-up enforcement effort is to stem the flow of illegal fireworks into New Jersey from other states. Enforcement activities are geared to ensure strict adherence to the law. It is a crime to sell, use, and/or possess any kind of fireworks including firecrackers, Roman candles, M80’s, cherry bombs, salutes, and even sparklers in New Jersey without a valid permit. Patrols will also monitor motorists who venture into Pennsylvania or surrounding states to purchase fireworks and transport them back into New Jersey.  Possession of fireworks is a disorderly persons offense, but possession with the intent to sell is a fourth-degree offense, with a possible maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.

In any given year, the State Police confiscates between 500 and 1,000 cases of illegal fireworks or approximately six to eight tons of illegal explosives. “Fireworks are best left to trained professionals. Each year emergency rooms are filled with patients who are injured by illegal fireworks,” said New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes.

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