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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ

Contact: Rick Remington
609-530-4280

RELEASE: April 02, 2003


Lettiere unveils proposed Double-Fine 'Safe Corridors'


 

(Trenton) - Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere today identified 13 state highways where fines would be doubled in order to reduce higher than average accident rates, under a proposed highway safety program.

“Motorists who endanger the lives of others by speeding or reckless driving must be held accountable for their behavior,” said Lettiere. “Increased enforcement along with enhanced driver education and highway engineering improvements will help make our roads safer. Doing nothing is not an option when over 700 motorists a year are losing their lives on New Jersey highways.”

Lettiere announced the proposed “Safe Corridors” at the fourth annual New Jersey Work Zone Safety Conference, a partnership of contractors, labor and state and federal officials who draw public attention to safety issues in highway construction zones. Lettiere said the proposed doubling of fines along high-accident sections of highways was modeled after the increased penalties the state now assesses motorists who speed or drive recklessly through construction zones. Senator Shirley K. Turner is sponsoring legislation that would create the double-fine penalties.

Based on their higher than average accident or fatality rates during 2001, the most recent year for which data is available, the affected roads would be:

Route
Total Crashes
Fatals
1
7,329
20
9
4,114
12
10
1,180
6
17
2,298
6
22
2,992
6
23
1,360
9
30
1,920
15
40
1,282
7
46
3,197
7
47
1,291
6
73
986
14
130
2,209
7
206
2,726
15

The list will be further refined to identify sections of each road that have experienced the highest rates of accidents, Lettiere said. Once the enabling legislation is enacted, the DOT would erect signs alerting motorists to the increased fines once they enter a “safe corridor.”

As part of the effort, a Safety Impact Team including representatives from the NJDOT, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Safety Traffic Administration will monitor the designated corridors to determine what factors contribute to their unacceptable safety records and recommend remedial steps that can be taken to improve safety.

“The FHWA is proud to be able to partner with NJDOT in this important safety initiative,” said Dennis Merida, the FHWA’s division administrator. “We will be able to contribute by sharing the best practices and innovative technologies to improve safety in New Jersey.”

In addition to construction zones, double fines were imposed on New Jersey’s interstate highways, such as Routes 80 and 295, when the speed limit was raised to 65 mph. A 2001 study by the Arizona Department of Transportation demonstrated a 60 percent reduction in accidents in highway work zones after double fines were implemented.

The “Safe Corridors” initiative is one of 12 that were announced last month by Lettiere as part of Governor James E. McGreevey’s “Safety First” program. The program was developed by a task force that included the DOT, State Police, the AAA Auto Clubs of New Jersey, the New Jersey Motor Truck Association and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. An additional task force has been created to deal exclusively with safety issues on county roads and local streets.

The program also includes $20 million in highway safety improvements, stiffer fines on out-of-state truckers for weight violations and increased attention to educating motorists how to drive safely around trucks. Lettiere last week recorded public service announcements with Philadelphia Eagles football star Troy Vincent that urge motorists to drive safely and stay alert.

At the Work Zone Safety conference, Lettiere said the DOT this year will improve safety in its construction zones by using a new reflective tape to help alert motorists. The tape is particularly effective in rainy, dark weather for enhancing visibility. Nearly 900 fatalities and over 40,000 injuries occur annually across the country as a result of accidents in construction zones.

The DOT will continue meeting with driver’s education teachers to help them incorporate work zone safety as part of their instruction, Lettiere said. The DOT already has met with 160 instructors statewide.

 
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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  April 27, 2007