Division of Highway Traffic Safety

Director’s Message

Director’s Message

Eric Heitmann

Summer Travel Safety

Summertime is when New Jersey’s recreational and entertainment destinations create the heaviest demands on our roadways. That’s why the so called “101 Days of Summer” – the period that stretches from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day – is considered the busiest and most dangerous travel time of the year.

It is also why the Division of Highway Traffic Safety (DHTS) steps up its messaging to highlight pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle safety, as well as safety among teen drivers, who face higher risks of fatal crashes during the summer months. And why we also provide for increased safety enforcement on NJ roadways during the summer through our “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” grant programs that promote statewide police participation in these national enforcement campaigns.

Raising public awareness of the increased risks associated with summer travel is paramount.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the higher volume of holiday travelers, including a significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers cause nearly twice the number of automotive deaths during the summer months than during the rest of the year combined.

In New Jersey, fatal crashes, alcohol-related crashes, and young-driver crashes all occur at higher rates between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.

Last year marked a grim milestone in New Jersey where crash fatalities were at their highest level since 2007. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2021, 146 motor vehicle occupants, 66 pedestrians, and 10 bicyclists lost their lives on New Jersey roadways.  These summertime deaths represent almost a third of all the lives lost on our roads that year.

For these reasons, reducing risks and preventing crashes is more important than ever during the summer. As DHTS works with its traffic safety partners in the Murphy Administration to promote safe travels through New Jersey, we are calling on the motoring public to join our efforts.

Traffic safety is a responsibility we all share. To do your part to reduce crash risks and other travel-related hazards this summer:

  • Make sure you and your passengers wear seat belts for every trip, in all seating positions both front and rear, day and night.  And small children must always be restrained in properly installed, properly fitted child seats.
  • Be alert for pedestrians and obey the “Safe Passing law” by moving over whenever possible or slowing down.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Always have a designated driver available or call a taxi or rideshare service.
  • In order to maintain proper traffic flow, keep right unless passing on multi-lane highways. Improper lane usage are major contributing factors to unnecessary traffic congestion and can lead to crashes.
  • Always pay full attention while driving – and never text or talk on a hand-held cell phone.
  • Prior to summer travel check your vehicle’s oil, tires, and fluid levels to avoid a breakdown. If you do break down, call for help immediately.
  • Utilize the NJ511 system (511nj.org website and phone systems) to get valuable real-time information about crashes, congestion, construction, and travel times.
  • Never leave children or pets in a hot car. On summer days, parked cars can reach deadly temperatures in a very short period of time.
  • Make sure that new drivers in your family are capable drivers and in compliance with the provisions of their graduated license. Those provisions can be found on the Division of Highway Traffic website at www.NJSafeRoads.com

The most important partner in our effort to prevent crashes and save lives is YOU.

Please do you part to keep New Jersey roadways safe for all by obeying traffic safety laws and practicing safe driving habits.

A wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics can be found on the Division’s web site www.NJSafeRoads.com and new information is added regularly.

In addition, I invite everyone to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions. We are listening and we are here to ensure that everyone gets where they are going and gets back to their loved ones SAFELY.

Translate »