Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day - October 10

Drive As Though Your Life Depended On It! 

Put the Brakes on Fatalities is a national program whose goal is to deliver to the public the major causes of transportation fatalities and their avoidance.   Each year on October 10th, every driver, pedestrian, motorcyclist and bicyclist is encouraged to be exceptionally careful so that for at least one day, there will be no fatalities on New Jersey's roads. 

In 2014, 556 individuals lost their lives in motor vehicle related crashes on New Jersey roadways. Of particular concern were the 170 pedestrian fatalities, which represent nearly 31% of all motor vehicle fatalities. When compared to the national average of 14%, New Jersey is clearly overrepresented and must continue to take action. From Sunday October 4th through Saturday October 10th the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety will be partnering with the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement agencies statewide to help raise awareness throughout New Jersey. Additionally, all of the state’s roadway users will be asked to do their share (slow down, avoid distractions, stop for pedestrians, use crosswalks and obey crossing signals). 

By the Numbers:

In 2013, speeding was a contributing factor in 29 percent of all fatal crashes – with 9,613 lives lost in such crashes. The economic cost of speeding-related crashes in the U.S. is estimated to be $52 billion per year. (Source: Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Overview) 

Among passenger vehicle occupant fatalities, the age groups 13 to 15 and 21 to 34 had the highest percentage of occupants killed that were unbuckled. Of the 5,852 casualties where seat belt use was known, 3,559 (61 percent) were unrestrained. (Source: Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Occupant Protection) 

Drunk driving continues to be a serious problem in the United States. Alcohol-involved crashes killed 10,076 people, accounting for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2013. An average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurred every 52 minutes. (Source: Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Alcohol-Impaired Driving) 

Distracted driving is a behavior dangerous to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike. Distractions including talking on a cell phone, texting, eating and programming/ looking at a GPS injured an estimated 424,000 people in motor vehicle crashes in 2013, while killing 3,154 others. For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes in the U.S., 10 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted at the time of their fatal crash. (Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Distracted Driving) 

The Middlesex Police Department will participate in this important initiative. Motorists can expect an enhanced focus on and enforcement of motor vehicle violations. Please do your part and drive safely and courteously.

Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs - September 26 at Police Headquarters

[Middlesex, NJ] – On September 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Middlesex Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its tenth opportunity in five years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your pills for disposal to Police Headquarters at 1101 Mountain Avenue.  (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.)  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last September, Americans turned in 309 tons (over 617,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  When those results are combined with what was collected in its eight previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4.8 million pounds—more than 2,400 tons—of pills. 
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the September 26 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Office of  Diversion Control site .

Updated Child Passenger Safety Law

Important:  The new Child Passenger Safety Law goes into effect September 1, 2015 and is as follows:

Any child under the age of 8 years old and a height of 57 inches shall be secured as follows in the rear seat of a motor vehicle:

  • A child under the age of 2 years and 30 pounds shall be secured in a rear-facing seat equipped with a 5-point harness.                

  • A child under the age of 4 years and 40 pounds shall be secured as described in (a) until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing seat, then in a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a 5-point harness.                

  • A child under the age of 8 and a height of 57 inches shall be secured as described in (a) or (b) until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing or forward-facing seat, then in a belt positioning booster seat.      

  • A child over 8 years of age or 57 inches in height must be properly secured by a seat belt.

  • If there are no rear seats, the child shall be secured as described above in the front seat except that no child shall be secured in a rear-facing seat in the front seat of any vehicle that is equipped with an active passenger-side airbag. The aforementioned is acceptable if the airbag is de-activated.

Correct use is easy if you follow four steps:

Read the manufacturer's instructions for your car seat.  Face the child safety seat in the proper direction.   Infant seats always face backwards. Baby rides in a semi-reclining position facing the rear of the car. Convertible seats face backwards in a semi-reclining position for infants under 30 pounds and under 2 year of age, and forward in an upright position for toddlers. Secure your child snugly in the car seat. Always buckle the seat's harness system securely to hold your child safely in the seat. Allow no more than one finger-width of slack between your child's collarbone and the harness strap. Secure the child car seat with a seat belt. Anchoring the seat properly with a seat belt is critical. A seat that is not buckled securely to the car can tip over, slide sideways or, in a crash, be ejected from the car. Check your instruction manual to find out how to route the seat belt properly and fasten it tightly.

For more information and for information on how to find a NJ Child Passenger Safety Technician, visit http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/childseats/index.html

NJSP Child Seat Chart

Summertime and the end-of-year holidays are when most Americans gather to enjoy their free time with friends and family. They are also some of the most deadly times on American roads due to impaired driving. That's why during the summer and the end of the year, a nationwide campaign comprised of thousands of traffic safety partners, join together to protect citizens from this deadly crime. 
Here in New Jersey, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety utilizes the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to achieve its goal: prevention.

The Goal is Prevention
The key to deterring impaired driving is highly visible enforcement. The research is clear on the affect highly visible enforcement has on deterring impaired driving. Prevention and not arrest is the goal of the campaign. Drivers must perceive that the risk of being caught is too high before their behavior will change. Use the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over message to convince audiences that the chance of being caught is too high to risk. This message works and has influenced many citizens nationwide not to drink and drive.