PLAINSBORO: State grant funds traffic crackdown
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 1:28 PM EDT
By Kristine Snodgrass, Staff Writer
PLAINSBORO — Extra patrols will be on the streets of Plainsboro this month as the township Police Department participates in a crackdown on speeding and other forms of aggressive driving.
The initiative is part of the first statewide “Obey the Signs or Pay the Fines” initiative, announced this week by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer.
Grants of $4,000 each were awarded by the division to local police departments to deter aggressive driving behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, running red lights or stop signs, improper passing and unsafe lane changes.
Plainsboro is one of 75 law enforcement agencies in New Jersey that will participate in the initiative, which began Wednesday and runs through the end of the month.
The department is running 32 additional three-hour patrols this month, which will be spread out over different times of the day, Chief Richard Furda said.
Plainsboro has the same problems with aggressive driving as other municipalities, he said, though it is amplified by the traffic that passes through town via Route 1 and Dey Road. Summer is considered the most dangerous time for driving, he added.
Officers will be on the lookout for all types of violations, but “our focus really is on speeding,” he said.
Other county and municipal police departments are expected to participate in the initiative using their own resources, according to the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
The program was originally developed in response to the problem of speeding on New Jersey roadways, beginning in 2006 in four northern counties and later expanded to seven counties. Last year in New Jersey, there were 22,118 crashes related to unsafe speed, according to the division.
This is the first year the program will be conducted statewide and expanded to include not only speeding, but all aggressive driving behaviors.
Speed is a contributing factor in nearly one out of three fatal crashes across the nation, according to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Report.
”Clearly, it’s time for all motorists to do a personal ‘reality check’ of their own driving behaviors,” Ms. Fischer said. “We must stop blaming each other for our bad driving practices and take personal responsibility for our behaviors behind the wheel.”
She added that impatience, hurrying, distractions, traffic congestion and stress are all contributing factors that lead to an unsafe driving environment, regardless of the skill of the driver. A 38-question quiz designed to help motorists recognize their own aggressive driving behaviors is available on the division’s Web site at www.njsaferoads.com.
Questions on the quiz include: “Do you maintain appropriate distance when following other vehicles, bicyclists, motorcyclists; provide appropriate distance when cutting in after passing vehicles; yield to pedestrians; maintain speeds appropriate for conditions; yield and/or move to the right for emergency vehicles; avoid challenging other drivers; and, refrain from flashing your headlights to signal a desire to pass.”