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The Commissioner's Report
'Safety First': Governor McGreevey's
I am proud to announce that on March 5, NJDOT released "Safety First: Governor McGreevey's Highway Safety Initiative". Safety First is a three pronged approach to improve highway safety and save lives throughout the State. It targets engineering, education and enforcement improvements that will make a real difference in the way New Jersey motorists drive and the roads they travel.
Every year more than 700 New Jersey residents lose their lives in auto accidents. In November, Governor McGreevey directed the state Department of Transportation to convene a Highway Safety Task Force with members from NJDOT, the State Police, AAA, New Jersey Motor Carriers, Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Safety First is the result of the collaborative effort.
Safety First will implement engineering initiatives, designed to create greater visibility on our highways and improve emergency and traffic response in the event of an accident. For better driving conditions, NJDOT will install more than 500 miles of reflective pavement markers and introduce high visibility tape markings at every construction site in the state.
In addition, Safety First will spend over $15 million to install median barriers throughout the State to reduce the risk of deadly crossover accidents. NJDOT will also increase its Emergency Service Patrol (ESP) incident management.
Through educational initiatives, Safety First will teach safer driving behavior. Education initiatives include new car-truck safety questions on the Drivers Test, a partnership with the Department of Education to improve driver education classes and mandatory truck safety lessons for CDL violators.
Finally, through added enforcement, Safety First is designed to safeguard drivers through stringent enforcement of safety regulations. Safety First will raise fines for trucks that have faulty equipment and out of state trucks which are overweight. It will double fines for speeding and other hazardous driving violations in "Safety Priority Zones," corridors with high accident frequencies to reduce the risk of a crashes. Safety First also commits the NJDOT and the State Police to a truck inspection station at every major truck point of entry into the State within five years.
In addition to engineering, education and enforcement initiatives, Governor McGreevey has made the Highway Safety Task Force a permanent entity at the NJDOT. Recognizing that safety is not a static issue, I will meet with the Task Force on a regular basis to monitor the success of Safety First initiatives and to examine future initiatives for improving safety in New Jersey. To give us a better local perspective on safety issues, I have invited members of the League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Association of Counties to join the Task Force as well.