Enhanced summer traffic safety initiative on Route 528 starts Friday
Taking a cue from the dramatic drop in crashes and fatalities on Ocean County Route 539 during last summer's multi-agency safety enforcement initiative, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato this year sets sights on Route 528.
The Summer 2016 Safety-Enforcement Initiative, in cooperation with New Jersey State Police, begins Friday, June 17 and ends on Thursday, June 30.
It covers 40 miles of road - milepost 40 to 14 through Mantoloking, Brick, Lakewood, Jackson and Plumsted, and mileposts 14 to 0 through Bordentown, Chesterfield and North Hanover in Burlington County.
Details will be on the alert for common violations that often lead to fatal crashes, such as improper passing, speeding, impaired or inattentive driving, traffic signal non-compliance, road aggression, tailgating, improper turns, and failure to yield. Truckers will be watched for weight infractions, equipment maintenance and brake pressure problems.
Variable message signs will be placed strategically. Officers in unmarked cars will report erratic and aggressive driving to marked units. Coronato is urging all law enforcement departments involved to employ automated license plate readers.
Figures issued by the Prosecutor's office indicate a steady decline in crash totals: 139 in 2012, 130 in 2013, 126 in 2014, and 92 in 2015.
Yet, Coronato cites 55 narcotic- and alcohol-related arrests, and a rise in road infractions, from 2015 to the present as the source of a spike in fatalities that is forcing the trend to reverse.
"Ocean County Law Enforcement must be pro-active in our efforts to keep motorists safe, " Coronato said in prepared comments. Emerging statistics, plus "the huge influx of additional summer commuters on this roadway, calls for a prudent coordinated traffic safety response."
New Jersey State Police, the state Office of Highway Traffic Safety, and Ocean County's Road and Engineering Departments collaborated on the plan that accentuates enforcement, engineering and education.
The initiative also has input from each applicable local police department in Ocean and Burlington Counties.
Ocean County engineers will review crash stats and road characteristics to determine where rumble strips or other safety enhancements should be installed, if necessary.
The education component encompasses signs, public service announcements, posters and social-media interaction by all partnering agencies.
Coronato urges all motorists taking to Ocean County highways this season to drive responsibly.