By Desirée Taylor
Motorists beware. Law enforcement’s taking aim at unsafe drivers today and throughout the holiday weekend.
“It’s pretty much a light ticket for the stickers or whatever, it’s not that bad,” said Wayne Resident Nick Delrio.
“Officers are looking for any driving violation,” said Passaic County Office of Highway Traffic Safety Director Les Goldstein. “Improper lane change, driving in the shoulder, disregarding a red light or a stop sign, tailgating, speeding. The task force evolved to include drunk driving, seat belt usage, distracted driving.”
The Passaic County Aggressive Driving Task Force is leading the crackdown. But agencies from Bergen and Morris counties are also participating, as well as state law enforcement.
“For last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, there were 10 fatalities on roads in New Jersey, which is a significant number. And six of those 10 were alcohol related. So that clues you in as to what the major issues are this holiday weekend. The goal is to do better than last year,” said New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety North Region Supervisor Bob Gaydosh.
And statistics are looking better in 2013.
“This year so far for the entire calendar year of 2013, we’re down 12 percent in fatalities compared to last year. And nationally we’re doing well compared to other states. In 2012, New Jersey had the second highest number of fatalities reduced of any state in the U.S. And we were number one in terms of reducing alcohol related fatalities,” Gaydosh said.
Law enforcement attribute these improvements to initiatives like this one, as well as strong traffic safety laws and enforcement.
“This is a great program. We know high visibility enforcement works. That’s the model nationally to improve safety — high visibility and enforcement — and this is a perfect example of that here, what’s going on here in Passaic County,” said Gaydosh.
This initiative isn’t new. The Passaic County Aggressive Driving Task Force has been cracking down on unsafe drivers since 1999. And during that time, it has issued more than 32,000 summonses and made nearly 400 criminal arrests.
But even with police out in full force this holiday weekend, some motorists anxious to get to their destination may be tempted to break the rules. Think twice, say authorities.
“It’s New Jersey. You’re not going to get any place any quicker. Just allow extra time for your travel,” said Goldstein.
So pack your patience and arrive safely.