It’s time to slow down! Local police crack down on speeders (Score: )
by alexis on Tuesday, July 08 @ 13:20:57 MDT

By Alexis Tarrazi
Senior Reporter

(July 10, 2008) — With so much to do and so little time, many find themselves putting the pedal to the metal to make appointments and arrive at work on time. But lead-foot drivers may want to ease back on the gas as local police have started to crack down on speeding in more than 180 northern New Jersey municipalities.
“People have reasons in their own minds why they think speeding is okay,” Lyndhurst Police Detective Capt. John Valente said. “But the bottom line is, there is no good reason to be speeding.”
For the entire month of July, police agencies in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties will participate in the campaign known as the “Obey the Signs, Pay the Fines” initiative, which resulted in more than 10,800 speeding citations during the 2007 crackdown, according to the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
“Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by the NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2004, speeding was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, and 13,192 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.”
Several towns in The Leader’s coverage area — East Rutherford, Carlstadt and North Arlington — have each received a $4,000 grant to help offset the costs of overtime and extra patrol during the enforcement period.
“We will be deploying aggressive details with radar, along with our regular officers who check for speeding routinely,” East Rutherford Acting Police Chief Larry Minda said. “At the same time, we will deploy sign boards … that will allow residents to gauge their speed and slow down.”
Other departments that did not receive a grant will still be conducting their own patrols, but without the extra money.
Wood-Ridge Police Chief Joseph Rutigliano said he is setting up a task force, where police will be stationed at several different locations to run radar scans of passing vehicles. Additionally, Rutigliano noted that drivers have been notified about the enforcement with message trailers.
“They’ve been warned,” Rutigliano said. “We really need them to slow down because kids are out of school and in the streets.”
The locations of the sign boards are often strategically placed based upon information gathered by the police.
“We look at where accidents occur, where traffic occurs and where we get complaints about speeding,” Valente said. “Then we try to move the sign to that target area.”
Several streets have been identified as notorious speedways. Wood-Ridge labeled Hackensack Street as such, while Rutherford pointed out Ridge Road, West Passaic Avenue, Union Avenue and Erie Avenue.
For speeders with little time on their hands, Rutherford Police Capt. Joseph Merli gave some helpful advice.
“Police are cracking down in July,” Merli said. “It can be a very expensive ticket for you and points on your license, which will increase the cost of your insurance. So, it is best to slow down.”