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news release

Contact: Jim Berzok
RELEASE: August 30, 2000

NJDOT Suspends Construction
Activities for Labor Day Weekend;
Advises Motorists of New Drunk Driving Provisions

Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein today announced that NJDOT will suspend construction activities that would impact traffic over the holiday weekend.

"We're going to do everything we can to help motorists get to their destinations safely and with minimal disruption," the Commissioner said. "Beginning at noon this Friday, September 1, all construction work that affects travel lanes on our highways will be suspended through the morning rush hour on Tuesday, September 5. Lane closures will only be permitted for emergency reasons."

The Commissioner also reminds motorists that are preparing to venture out on the roads this holiday weekend that a recently enacted law now prohibits open or unsealed alcoholic beverage containers in the passenger area of a motor vehicle.

"Safety on our roads is our utmost concern. Those who drive under the influence or simply ride under the influence pose a risk to everyone. This new measure will go a long way to help law enforcement keep our streets and highways safe." Weinstein added.

The new drunk driving law, signed by Governor Whitman earlier this month, prohibits open or unsealed containers in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. The prohibition does not apply to the trunk area or the area behind the last upright seat of a trunkless vehicle (e.g., minivan, van or SUV), the living quarters of trailers or motor homes, or to passengers on charter buses or in limousines.

Previously, the law prohibited drinking while driving, and a driver would be presumed to be drinking if an open container was found in the vehicle. The new law specifically prohibits open containers.

The new law also provides for fines of $200 for a first offense and $250 for a second offense, in addition to 10 days of community service.

The DOT will also be extending the hours of operation for our Emergency Service Patrols (ESP) on Friday and Monday. On Routes 80, 280 and 287, ESP will operate from 4:00 AM to 9:30 PM on Friday, and noon to 8:30 PM on Monday. On Routes 295, 55, 42, and 76/676, the hours will be 4:00 AM to 9:30 PM on Friday, 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM on Sunday, and noon to 8:30 PM on Monday.

"Motorists with disabled vehicles should pull completely off the roadway and stay with their vehicle until police or ESP personnel arrive," Commissioner Weinstein said. "Before leaving home, drivers should inspect their vehicle for basic items like gas, water and oil, and also ensure that the spare tire is properly inflated."

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  Last Updated:  April 3, 2007