Division of Highway Traffic Safety

Director’s Message Archive

Director’s Message Archive

March 1, 2021 (Vehicle Safety Recalls Week)

Eric Heitmann

Vehicle Safety Recalls Week

Division of Highway Traffic Safety

You may have heard the saying “safe cars save lives” before, and it’s true! Safety defects in vehicles can cause crashes and deaths on our roadways. In fact, in 2019, there were 966 safety recalls affecting more than 53 million vehicles and other equipment in the United States. Unfortunately, about 25% of vehicle recalls are not addressed, which puts drivers, passengers, and others on the road at risk. March 8th through March 12th is “Vehicle Safety Recalls Week,” and it’s the perfect time to ensure that your car is operating safely as you get ready for spring.

A recall is issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards.

It’s best to check if your car has a recall twice a year and promptly fix the problem if so. Every recall is fixed FOR FREE! To check the recall status of your car, simply visit www.NHTSA.gov/recalls and search your vehicle’s VIN number to see if it needs to be repaired as part of a recall. On this site, you can check on the recall status for specific vehicle models, car seats, tires, and other equipment and sign up to receive email alerts about new vehicle, tire and car seat recalls, so you know that you are keeping safety top of mind.

This year, it’s especially important to know that there is an urgent air bag recall currently in progress –the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history. You can learn more about this recall and find out if your vehicle is involved here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/takata-recall-spotlight.

Here at New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety, we know that safe cars save lives. By checking your car’s recall status, you will have peace of mind that your vehicle is operating as it should or gain priceless knowledge that could end up saving your life or the life of a loved one.

Should you have questions about recalls – contact NHTSA. For questions, comments, or suggestions about traffic safety matters, I invite you to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov. For any other matters, general inquiries can be directed to Citizen Services at (609) 984-5828.

You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the conversation on our traffic safety campaigns all year long:

For information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at https://www.njoag.gov/about/divisions-and-offices/division-of-highway-traffic-safety-home/.

February 1, 2021 (Addressing Aggressive Driving)

Eric Heitmann

Addressing Aggressive Driving

Division of Highway Traffic Safety

You have likely encountered an aggressive driver or experienced “road rage” while driving. Aggressive driving is a progression of dangerous and unlawful driving actions including speeding, making improper or erratic traffic lane changes, disregarding traffic control devices, failing to yield the right of way, and following another vehicle too closely. Road rage occurs when motorists lose their tempers or become frustrated because of a traffic disturbance.

Aggressive drivers fail to consider how their actions behind the wheel can affect other motorists on the road. Extreme cases of aggressive driving and road rage can lead to deadly crashes.

We want you to know that New Jersey takes aggressive driving seriously and our law enforcement officers and prosecutors are ready to take action to stop aggressive driving. Your cooperation is vital to help stop crashes and fatalities related to aggressive driving. Here’s how you can help us in the campaign against aggressive driving and road rage:

  • When behind the wheel of a car, always remain calm and follow the rules of the road.
  • If you feel angry or overly excited, take time to cool off before driving.
  • If you see an aggressive driver on the road, call 888-SAF-ROAD, or if using a cell phone, call #77 hands-free to report the driver.
  • Make a note of the vehicle and report the aggressive driver to local authorities when it is safe to do so.

Just last year alone, 19,008 people utilized #77 to report aggressive drivers in NJ.  By following the above tips and reporting aggressive drivers, you will help us create safer roadways in New Jersey so that everyone arrives home safely to their loved ones at the end of the day.

As always, I invite you to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions. You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the conversation on our traffic safety campaigns all year long:

For information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at https://www.njoag.gov/about/divisions-and-offices/division-of-highway-traffic-safety-home/.

January 1, 2021 (January Travel Safety)

Eric Heitmann

January Travel Safety

Division of Highway Traffic Safety

Across the country, people are taking the time to reflect on the extremely challenging year in anticipation of celebrating New Year 2021. A part of reflection is looking for ways to make our daily lives happier, healthier, and safer.

The year 2020 proved to be a more difficult and dangerous year than usual on roadways across the country.  Here at home in New Jersey, traffic fatalities decreased in the first and second quarters of the year when there were fewer drivers on the road due to the pandemic.  However, statistics show that as the year progressed, fatalities increased significantly, even as traffic volumes remained below average. https://www.njsp.org/info/fatalacc/index.shtml

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests driving patterns and behaviors changed significantly and that drivers who remained on the roads engaged in riskier behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2019-fatality-data-traffic-deaths-2020-q2-projections

At the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, we continue to strive towards our vision of zero deaths occurring on New Jersey’s roadways. We hope the information from the NHTSA study will help you make positive changes in your driving behaviors for a safer 2021.

Here are some traffic safety goals to put on your list of New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Obey all posted speed limits, even if the roads seem emptier than usual. #ArriveAlive
  2. Wear your seat belt – every seat, every trip, every time. It’s the best way to avoid serious injuries or death in the event of a crash. #ClickItOrTicket
  3. If you’ve consumed drugs or alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel of any vehicle. #DriveSober
  4. Put down your phone and pledge not to drive distracted. #JustDrive (And keep an eye out for our Division’s comprehensive distracted driving campaign coming in Spring 2021!)

By making – and keeping – these safety resolutions, you will help us create safer roadways in New Jersey so that everyone arrives home safely to their loved ones at the end of the day.

I invite you to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions on how we can make 2021 our safest year yet on New Jersey’s roadways. You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the conversation on our traffic safety campaigns all year long:

For a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

We are listening, and we hope that 2021 is your best and safest year yet.

November 24, 2020 (December "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over")

December is here, bringing holiday cheer, the hustle and bustle of the busy shopping season and the anticipation of COVID-safe small gatherings with loved ones!

Here at the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, we want to help preserve the magic of the season by ensuring that all holiday travelers reach their destinations safely by pledging to drive sober as we participate in our annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement mobilization, obeying the speed limits on our roadways, and saying NO to risky driving behaviors.

During the pandemic, statistics have shown that alcohol and drug use has increased in correlation with a rise in anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders, which has led to more people driving under the influence. Other worrisome statistics show that even though our roadways are less crowded with more people staying at home, the number of fatalities have remained consistent to pre-COVID times due to increased number of drivers speeding and a decreased use of seatbelts. Traveling at high speeds without seatbelt use has resulted in an increased number of crashes where people are killed from being ejected from their vehicles.

We want you to arrive at your destination ALIVE. You can help prevent crashes and deaths related to impaired driving and other risky roadway behaviors by having a safety plan. 

Follow these tips to keep your holiday season safe and fun for all:

  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you are impaired in any way, use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “SafeRide” app to call a taxi or a friend. The app is available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple devices on the iTunes store. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving.
  • If you are hosting a small gathering, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call law enforcement immediately.
  • Always wear your seat belt, no matter what seat you are sitting in or how long your trip is.
  • Obey all speed limits, even if the roadway seems emptier than usual. Speed limits are created with your safety in mind.

I invite everyone to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions. You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the #DriveSoberOrGetPulledOver and #BuzzedDrivingIsDrunkDriving discussions and other traffic safety conversations.

For a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

Please stay safe and be smart on the roadway this season so everyone is able to enjoy the season with their families.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

November 5, 2020 (November Travel Safety)

As we head into November and the beginning of the busy holiday travel season, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety wants to ensure that you and your loved ones always arrive to your travel destinations safely and seamlessly.

Keeping the importance of traffic safety in mind, our Division has a busy month of statewide awareness campaigns planned as we celebrate Veteran’s Day, begin to approach winter driving conditions, and plan for safe holiday travel:

Our “Congestion Suggestions” campaign in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey State Police and New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management (launching 11/8) will suggest tips on how you can help us reduce traffic on New Jersey’s roadways.

Traffic Incident Management Week (11/9-11/15) reminds us that the lives of motorists, responders, and workers depend on effective actions by drivers and the highway heroes who respond to save the lives of complete strangers.

Our “Keep Right” campaign (launching 11/16) creates awareness that it’s the LAW in New Jersey to keep right unless you are passing. Keeping right also helps keep traffic flowing smoothly so everyone can get to where they are going safely. Remind your friends and family of this law, and please Share and Retweet our “Keep Right” social media posts on your pages this month to help us spread the message.

And remember: it’s deer season! Please be extra cautious of deer entering the roadway, especially along parks or wooded roadways, to avoid collisions.

NHTSA’s upcoming “Click it or Ticket,” “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” and “If You Feel Different You Drive Different” campaigns create awareness on how we must practice safe driving behaviors, every trip, every time, especially during holiday celebrations. Our lives and stranger’s lives depend on it.

I hope everyone enjoys a safe November and the beginning of a memorable holiday season. As always, please follow along with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety social media pages for important messaging on the safety campaigns mentioned above and many others:

For a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

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. With your help, we are well on the way to achieving our goal of zero fatalities.

August 4 2020 (DHTS End of Summer Update)

As August arrives, our entire team at the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety and all of our partners remain fully engaged and committed to keeping our highways safe during this unprecedented time. We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe as we continue our work to make travel in NJ safe.

Moving towards zero deaths on New Jersey’s roadways has remained our top priority as the pandemic has progressed and changed travel for motorists and pedestrians. I wanted to take a moment to keep you informed about a few of the timely traffic safety initiatives we are currently working on to achieve our goal of zero deaths.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of New Jersey’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) program, one of the country’s strongest teen driver programs. It is also the 10th anniversary of Kyleigh’s Law, which further strengthened our GDL program by adding data-driven and life-saving passenger restrictions, restricting the use of electronic devices, expanding the night-time curfew hours for young drivers, and requiring teens with a probationary driver’s license to display red decals on their license plates.

To celebrate the successes, and highlight the work still left to do in order to totally eliminate teen driver deaths, the Division will be launching a multi-platform GDL and Kyleigh’s Law anniversary media campaign this month.

We hope you will take the time to watch the videos, read the messaging, and join us in raising awareness of these programs, which have been instrumental in reducing the number of crashes involving young drivers – most markedly during GDL’s 11 pm to 5 am curfew period.

According to the latest available statistics, between 2009 and 2018, crashes involving teen drivers dropped 26 percent during the 5 am to 11 pm time period, and dropped a whopping 50 percent during the 11 pm to 5 am time period.

For more information on the GDL and Kyleigh’s Law, please check out the new “Share the Keys” program brochure here.

As we move toward late August and the Labor Day holiday, we ask that you remember that alcohol-related crashes and deaths are senseless and preventable.

On Labor Day Weekend in 2018, some 440 people were fatally injured in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. That is equivalent to nearly 5 people per hour during the 3.5 day holiday span. Over 35 percent of those fatal crashes involved a driver who was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

If your celebration plans include drinking, be sure to have a designated driver or ride-share program plan lined up at the beginning of the night; not only for your safety but for the safety of others on the roadways. Our officers will be out enforcing sober driving throughout the holiday weekend.

As New Jersey continues to navigate the changing landscape of the COVID-19 emergency, roadway safety continues to be a paramount concern. Below you will find some helpful tips to keep yourself and others safe:

  • When traveling, please give our emergency responders who must utilize the roadways the space to do their jobs.
  • Motorists should be extra cautious of an increased number of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists on and around the roadway. Be sure to #ShareTheRoad.
  • Pedestrians, do not assume that because many people are staying at home that roadways are “fair game” to walk on. As you typically would, walk on sidewalks where possible, look both ways before crossing the street, and only cross in a crosswalk.

If you have any New Jersey traffic-safety-related questions that our Division may assist with, we urge you to reach out to us www.nj.gov/oag/hts/contactus.html or find the “Contact HTS” tab on www.NJSafeRoads.com.

We operate on a “two-way” street here and encourage an open flow of conversation and questions from the public.

I also invite you to follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to participate in our upcoming GDL and Kyleigh’s Law campaign and for other important updates:

  • Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
  • Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
  • Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety

For more information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

Wishing you and your family health, hope, and happiness during this challenging time. Stay safe!

May 18 2020 (DHTS Covid-19 Update)

The lives and daily routines of all New Jerseyans have been greatly impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Whether we are hunkering down at home to keep ourselves and others healthy or stepping up to the plate as essential employees and first responders, I commend everyone for doing their part to #FlattenTheCurve.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety wants to keep you informed about a number of changes that we are making in response to the pandemic.

Our April 2020 NHTSA “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” mobilization, which cracks down on distracted drivers, along with our May 2020 NHTSA “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, which enforces seat belt usage, postponed. We will announce new dates for these enforcements when they become available.

Likewise, our 2020 Traffic Safety Symposium, previously scheduled for April 28th, has been postponed. We have tentatively rescheduled it for October 27, 2020. As the date approaches, we will be provide additional information about the conference agenda and how to register for the new date.

As New Jersey continues to navigate the changing landscape of the COVID-19 emergency, roadway safety remains our paramount concern. Below are some tips for keeping yourself and others safe on New Jersey roadways:

  • In the event you must travel for essential purposes, please give our emergency responders who must utilize the roadways the space to do their jobs.
  • Essential motorists should be extra cautious of an increased number of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists on and around the roadway. Be sure to #ShareTheRoad.

3.) Pedestrians, do not assume that because many people are staying at home that roadways are “fair game” to walk on. As you typically would, walk on sidewalks where possible, look both ways before crossing the street, and only cross in a crosswalk.

If you have any New Jersey traffic safety related questions that our Division may assist with, we urge you to reach out to us or find the “Contact HTS” tab on www.NJSafeRoads.com.

We operate on a “two-way” street here and encourage an open flow of conversation and questions from the public.

I also invite you to follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media for important updates and to join the conversation on our future traffic safety campaigns:

▪       Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
▪       Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
▪       Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety

For more information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

Wishing you and your family health, hope, and happiness during this challenging time. Stay safe!

March 4 2020 (Spring Safety and Vehicle Recalls)

The month of March brings the promise of spring and warmer temperatures! Whether you are planning to attend a baseball game, take a road trip with friends, or drive your kids to the park to enjoy sunny skies, we want you to get to where you are going safely.

March 2nd through 6th is “Vehicle Safety Recalls Week.” This is a great time to ensure that your car is operating safely as you gear up for spring. Simply visit www.NHTSA.gov/recalls and search your vehicle’s VIN number to see if it needs to be repaired as part of a recall. On this site, you can also check on the recall status for specific vehicle models, car seats, tires, and other equipment.
We are actively working on a new program in New Jersey to improve vehicle recall awareness and catch recalls before they cause a problem. As part of our “Check to Protect” program, Child Passenger Safety (CPS) specialists will inspect vehicles for recalls anytime they install or check a car seat. To see where you can have your child passenger safety seat checked, go to https://bit.ly/2GSyfW5 or call your local police department.

Here at New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety, we believe that safe cars save lives. By checking your car’s recall status, you will have peace of mind that your vehicle is operating as it should or gain priceless knowledge that could end up saving your life or the life of a loved one.

As always, I invite everyone to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions on how we can make 2020 our safest year yet on New Jersey’s roadways. You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the conversation on our traffic safety campaigns all year long:

  • Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
  • Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
  • Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety,

For more information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.
We are listening and wish you a very happy and safe start to spring on New Jersey’s roadways.

January 1 2020 (The Year of Vision)

The 2020 New Year has been called “The Year of Vision,” since, of course, 20/20 vision is considered perfect eyesight. All over the world, people are making resolutions and focusing on achieving the vision they have to live their best lives in this New Year.
Here at the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, we continue to strive towards our vision of zero deaths occurring on New Jersey’s roadways. This month, we will hold the second State Highway Safety Plan Summit at The College of New Jersey, where we will collaborate with traffic safety partners across the state as we drive towards zero deaths. You can help us realize this goal by including traffic safety goals on your list of resolutions for the year:

1. Put down your phone and pledge not to drive distracted. #JustDrive
2. Wear your seat belt – every seat, every trip, every time. #ClickItOrTicket
3. Don’t drive aggressively. #ArriveAlive
4. Drive sober. #DriveSoberOrGetPulledOver #DriveHighGetADUI
5. Stay off the roads during heavy snowfall: https://bit.ly/2R7St2M

By keeping these safety resolutions, you will be helping us to create safer roadways in New Jersey so that everyone gets to go home to their loved ones at the end of the day.

I invite everyone to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions on how we can make 2020 our safest year yet on New Jersey’s roadways. You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the conversation on our traffic safety campaigns all year long:

  • Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
  • Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
  • Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety,

For a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

We are listening and we hope that 2020 is your best and safest year yet.

November 13 2019 (Holiday Season Safety)

“It’s the holiday season…!”

The months of November and December always bring lots of holiday excitement. Homes and shops are adorned with festive decorations and friends and family travel from near and far to spend time with loved ones.

Here at the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, we want to help preserve the magic of the season by ensuring that holiday travelers reach their destinations safely. In 2017, alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 22 percent of all motor-vehicle related deaths in New Jersey. With this sobering statistic in mind, remember that if you feel different, you drive different. You can help prevent crashes and deaths related to drug or alcohol impaired driving by having a plan. 

Follow these tips to keep your holiday celebrations safe and fun for all:

  1. Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  2. If you are impaired, use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “SafeRide” app to call a taxi or a friend. The app is available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
  3. If you are hosting the party, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
  4. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call law enforcement immediately.
  5. Always wear your seat belt. It’s the best defense against drunk drivers.

I invite everyone to contact our office via phone (609)633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions. You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the #DriveSoberOrGetPulledOver, #DriveHighGetADUI, and #BuzzedDrivingIsDrunkDriving discussions and other traffic safety conversations.

  • Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
  • Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
  • Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety,

For a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

We are listening and we are here to ensure that everyone gets where they are going and gets back to their loved ones. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

October 15 2019 (Put the Brakes on Fatalities)

Here at the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, our mission is the safe passage of ALL roadway users in New Jersey, including the many varieties of motorists and pedestrians as we move towards zero fatalities.

In October, we focus on some of the most vulnerable people who use our roadways – children on school buses during National School Bus Safety Week (10/21-10/25), newly licensed teen drivers during National Teen Driver Safety Week (10/20-10/26), and pedestrians during Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day (10/10).
We strive every day to reduce fatalities through our grant work, partnerships with state and local police departments, and traffic safety partners, but we need your help. Read on for a couple tips on how you can protect yourself and others from a crash:

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY: As a motorist, be aware of an increased number of school buses on the road with school and after school clubs back in full swing and remember to NEVER pass a bus when its stop sign is extended. Doing so could result in 5 points on your license.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: As a pedestrian, remember to only cross in a crosswalk, even when walking to the corner may not be as convenient. Doing so tremendously reduces your chance of being hit by a car while crossing the street.

TEEN DRIVER SAFETY: New Jersey has some of the most stringent new driver laws to ensure safety. Obey all of the rules laid out by the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program and Kyleigh’s Law as you get used to driving on New Jersey’s roadways. They’re there to protect you!

Check out the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety social media pages throughout the month of October for social media campaigns during National School Bus Safety Week, National Teen Driver Safety Week, and Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day for more information and safety tips:

  • Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
  • Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
  • Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety,

For a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

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. With your help, we are well on the way to achieving our goal of zero fatalities.

September 3 2019 (Congestion Suggestions)

No matter when you are traveling on NJ’s roadways, there is never an ideal time to be stuck in traffic.

The good news is that the majority of our roadway traffic congestion is PREVENTABLE. Here’s some more information on congestion and tips on how YOU can help keep traffic flowing smoothly:

What causes congestion?

When there are enough vehicles on a highway, any minor disruptions to the flow of traffic can cause a self-reinforcing chain reaction of stopped traffic. When one vehicle brakes slightly, the vehicles behind it brake just a little bit more, so the braking is amplified until it produces a wave of stopped or severely slowed traffic. The heavier the traffic volume, the more pronounced the problem becomes.

What factors make congestion worse?

Heavy congestion forms when drivers go as fast as possible, then finally brake when necessary to avoid hitting the car in front of them, triggering a chain-reaction of stop and go traffic. Even as vehicles emerge from the congestion, the wave itself does not disappear. It continues to move against the direction of traffic in a self-amplifying wave of increasingly slower or stopped traffic.

How can drivers help eliminate congestion?

  • Obey speed limits to maintain a uniform speed on the highway
  • Notify the appropriate authorities when you see roadway debris, potholes, or obstructions in the road which cause disruptions.
  • Avoid distractions and pay attention to avoid “panic-braking”
  • Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you on the road
  • Travel “off peak” when possible
  • Utilize mass transit when possible
  • Keep to the right lane unless passing on multilane highways
  • Do not disrupt traffic by “cutting-in”
  • Merge into traffic well prior to a physical constriction of lanes
  • Avoid rubbernecking and unnecessary braking

Check out the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s social media pages, along with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and Motor Vehicle Commission’s social media pages, throughout the months of September and October for a new #CongestionSuggestion tip every Tuesday.

  • Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
  • Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
  • Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety

Together, we can minimize the amount of time we all spend waiting in traffic, and maximize the amount of time getting to where we want to be.

For more information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

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 get back to their loved ones SAFELY.

August 21 2019 (Safe Travels Back to School)

Summer sure does fly by! One day you’re at the Jersey Shore relaxing on vacation, and the next day you’re seeing displays of school supplies in every store and TV commercials advertising back-to-school clothing deals.

With a new academic year upon us, motorist and pedestrian traffic will increase on New Jersey’s roadways as students across the state head back to school.

Whether you’re a parent transporting kids to and from school, a student pedestrian, or a motorist navigating busy roads and walkways along school routes, read on for a tips to help keep you and others safe –

  • Motorists: Be aware of an increased number of school buses on the road and remember to NEVER pass a bus when its stop sign is extended. Be mindful of increased pedestrian traffic around schools, obey all speed limits, and exercise increased caution during school hours.
  • Pedestrians: Crosswalk safety is a SHARED responsibility! Whether you are a student or a parent, remember to keep your eyes on the road and always look twice before crossing.
  • Parents: Student drop off and pick up can cause traffic congestion! Drop your child off on the school side of the street next to the curb. If that is not possible, park your vehicle legally (never double park) and safely accompany your child to school by using designated crosswalks.

Check out the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety social media pages, along with the New Jersey Department of Education’s social media pages, throughout the month of September for more back to school tips to use on the road.

  • Facebook – @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
  • Twitter – @NJTrafficSafety
  • Instagram- @NJTrafficSafety,

Additional tips can be found on our website’s “School Zone…Danger Zone” Tip Sheet.

For a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics, please visit the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

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. Let’s make this the best and safest school year yet!

August 1 2019 (Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over)

August calls for lazy beach days, outdoor concerts and backyard barbeques with friends and family over the long Labor Day weekend. As you enjoy the last moments of summer fun, we here at the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety urge you to celebrate responsibly by always driving sober and having a designated driver.

This month, beginning on August 16th and running through September 2nd, police throughout New Jersey will be targeting impaired drivers during one of the most deadly months on American roads as part of the nationwide enforcement campaign “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” The campaign seeks to stop one of the major causes of deaths and injuries on New Jersey’s roadways – alcohol and substance impaired driving.

In 2017, alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 22 percent of all motor-vehicle related deaths in New Jersey. During the five-year period of 2013-2017, 678 individuals were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in our state. In addition to these fatal crashes, another 36,778 alcohol-related crashes occurred during this time frame, 39 percent of which resulted in injuries or death. It is clear from these statistics that impaired driving remains a serious public health and safety problem.

Drug-impaired driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Illegal drugs, prescription medication and even some over-the-counter drugs can interfere with your brain’s ability to properly function, affecting your motor coordination and reaction time, both of which are both critical aspects of safely operating a vehicle.

The bottom line is: if you feel different, you drive different. However, you can help prevents crashes and deaths related to drug or alcohol impaired driving by having a plan. Here are few tips to help you have a safe and fun night of celebration:

  1. Before drinking, choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver.
  2. Use National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s SafeRide app to call a taxi or a friend. The app is available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
  3. If you are hosting the party, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
  4. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call law enforcement immediately.
  5. Always wear your seat belt. It’s the best defense against drunk drivers.

For more information on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, please visit the following link: www.nj.gov/oag/hts/youlose.html. Aside from this campaign, a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics can be found on the Division’s frequently updated web site at www.NJSafeRoads.com.

I invite everyone to contact our office via phone (609) 633-9300 or email HTSWebInfo@njoag.gov with questions, comments, or suggestions. You can also follow along with the NJ DHTS on social media to join the #DriveSoberOrGetPulledOver discussion and other traffic safety conversations.

Facebook: @NewJerseyDivisionofHighwayTrafficSafety
Twitter: @NJTrafficSafety
Instagram: @NJTrafficSafety

We are listening and we are here to ensure that everyone gets where they are going and gets back to their loved ones SAFELY.

June 4 2019 (101 Days of Summer)

During the summer travel season, New Jersey’s recreational and entertainment destinations create heavy travel demands on our roadways. For this reason, the time between the Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day – known as the 101 Days of Summer – is considered to be the busiest and most dangerous travel period of the year.

The 101 Days of Summer Traffic Safety Campaign features stepped up enforcement on New Jersey’s roads and highways during this critical period. In addition to regular and supplemental patrols, police throughout New Jersey will be conducting sobriety checkpoints, deploying DWI and DUI Mobile Patrols, participating in the “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national enforcement mobilizations, and conducting task force partnerships and traffic safety details with other law enforcement and traffic safety agencies.

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, according to an analysis of five-year crash statistics.

In 2017 alone, 137 motor vehicle occupants, 48 pedestrians, and 5 bicyclists lost their lives in crashes on New Jersey roadways during that period – more than a third of the total lives lost that year.

Although New Jersey’s highways remain some of the safest in the nation, every injury and every loss of life is one too many. For the next three months we will be working with our partners in New Jersey’s law enforcement and traffic safety communities to reduce the risks associated with summer travel with a goal of preventing crashes and saving lives.

To help reduce the risks of crashes and other travel-related hazards this summer:

  • Make sure you and your passengers wear seat belts for every trip and keep small children restrained in properly installed child seats. This year a key focus of the 101 Days of Summer campaign will be to promote seat belt usage in ALL seating positions both front AND rear, day AND night.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Always have a designated driver available.
  • In order to maintain proper traffic flow, keep right unless passing on our multi-lane highways. Improper lane usage is a major contributing factor to unnecessary traffic congestion.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Avoid distractions while driving, especially texting or talking on cell phones.
  • Stay alert behind the wheel and be prepared for slowing traffic, lane shifts, and important safety signage.
  • Slow down for emergency or construction vehicles and move over to an adjacent lane if possible.
  • 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.
  • Do not leave children or pets in a hot car. On summer days, parked cars can reach deadly temperatures in a short period of time.
  • The 101 Days of Summer are especially hazardous for teenage drivers. In 2016, more than 1,050 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a teen driver during the summer months. 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. That’s why we are asking you to join us as we work together to make New Jersey roadways safer for all who travel during the 101 Days of Summer.

I encourage everyone to become partners in the 101 Days of Summer traffic safety campaign by obeying traffic safety laws and following 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. 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.

May 14 2019 (Click it or Ticket)

Buckle up. Not only is it the law, but it can save your life. Beginning May 20th and running through June 2nd, the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety and its state traffic safety partners will be participating in the National “Click it or Ticket” Enforcement Mobilization. This campaign aims to educate the motoring public about the importance of seat belt use and cracks down on people not wearing seatbelts throughout the country in an effort to increase seat belt usage and ultimately save lives. Our message to drivers during this campaign is that using a seat belt is the simplest way for a driver and his/her passengers to protect themselves while traveling, year ‘round and especially during the upcoming busy summer travel months.

To help the public better understand the dangers that come with not buckling up – and to enhance local police department efforts to enforce our law — the Division will be providing grant funding to numerous local, county, and state police agencies in New Jersey. All 491 police departments in New Jersey are invited to support the campaign, whether they receive grant funding or not. From May 20 – June 2, 2019, our local, county, and State Police agencies will mobilize additional officers to enforce our seat belt law. If they observe a violation, the vehicle could be stopped and any unbuckled occupant in any position may be issued a citation.

Last year’s 2018 “Click it or Ticket” Statewide Crackdown resulted in 19,659 citations for seatbelt violations. 5,632 additional violations, including speeding summonses and impaired driving arrests, were also issued as a result of the initial seat belt traffic stop. It is estimated that more than 15,000 enforcement hours were worked during the campaign, which included 357 agencies.

Overall, New Jersey’s seat belt usage rate has risen to a record 94.5%, much on the strength of the annual “Click it or Ticket” mobilization. It is a significant increase over the 2015 usage rate of 91.5%. Seat belt usage statistics speak for themselves: Wearing a seatbelt reduces a vehicle occupant’s risk of fatal injury by 45% and critical injury by 50%.

As part of the Division’s efforts to continue educating motorists year-round about the law, posters, palm cards and other literature and materials displaying the “Click it or Ticket” message will be displayed in strategic locations across the State. In 2019 and beyond, this Division along with our local, county, state, and federal partners will be working to create innovative and effective countermeasures to make our roadways safer.

I invite everyone to visit the Division’s web site www.NJSafeRoads.com which contains a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics with new information 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’re going and gets back to their loved ones SAFELY.

May 2019 (Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety)

May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month and Bicycle Safety Month.  During this month, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety and our statewide partners remind motorists to “Share the Road with Motorcyclists, Bicyclists, and Scooter Riders.” Throughout May, the Division will be participating in a number of initiatives aimed at curbing fatalities and crashes in New Jersey, including the launch of our “101 Days of Summer Safety” campaign to ensure safety of all motorists on New Jersey’s roads during the busy summer travel season, and a Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month BBQ Lunch held at Barb’s Harley Davidson in conjunction with the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey.

Motorcycle and bicycle fatalities have been dropping both nationally and in New Jersey in recent years, partly due to increased helmet use. In New Jersey in 2017, 83 motorcyclists died in crashes, with three of those fatalities involving riders not wearing a helmet.  Motorcycle fatalities declined in 2018 to 53, seven of which were not wearing helmets. Seventeen bicyclists died in crashes in 2017 in New Jersey, with 15 not wearing helmets. In 2018, 16 bicyclists were killed in crashes, with 12 not wearing a helmet. As a result of these trends, we urge riders to always wear helmets and ask both riders and motorists to take extra care during the summer months and to follow these tips:

Motorcycle, Bike, and Scooter Riders

  • Drive defensively, assume motorists do not see you, and plan escape routes.
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright colored and reflective clothing.
  • Do not tailgate. Give yourself time and space to react.
  • Avoid sudden braking or turning when driving on wet roads or gravel.
  • Do not ride after consuming alcohol or drugs.
  • Stay focused and avoid distractions.

Motorists

  • Share the road and obey speed limits, warning signs, and traffic signals.
  • Remember that motorcycles are much smaller and maneuver faster than other vehicles, so always check your mirrors twice.
  • Be alert for motorcycles. Heavy traffic could hide a motorcycle.
  • Do not tailgate motorcycles, as they require less stopping distance.
  • If you consume alcohol or drugs, don’t get behind the wheel.
  • Avoid distractions. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

As part of the Division’s efforts to educate motorists year-round about sharing the road with motorcycles and bicycles, posters, palm cards and other literature and materials displaying these important messages will be displayed and distributed in strategic locations around the State. We also invite the public and the press to attend our “101 Days of Summer Safety” campaign launch and press conference scheduled for May 21, 2019 at 2:00 PM at the Asbury Park Boardwalk. In 2019 and beyond, this Division along with our local, county, state, and federal partners will be working to create innovative and effective countermeasures to make our roadways safer.

I invite everyone to visit the Division’s web site www.NJSafeRoads.com which contains a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics with new information 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’re going and gets back to their loved ones SAFELY

April 2019 (Distracted Driving Awareness Month)

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. During this month, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety and all of our partners will be participating in the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” National Enforcement Mobilization. This campaign aims to address one of our most urgent and dangerous driver behaviors: talking and texting while driving. To help the public better understand the dangers associated with cell phone use and driving – and to enhance local police department efforts to enforce our law — the Division will be providing overtime grants to more than 200 police agencies in the state. All 496 police departments in New Jersey are invited to support the campaign, whether they receive grant funding or not. From April 1 – 21, 2019, our local, county, and State Police agencies will mobilize additional officers to enforce our cell phone law. If they observe a violation, the vehicle will be stopped and the driver may be issued a citation.

Last year’s 2018 U Drive. U Text. U Pay Distracted Driving Statewide Crackdown resulted in 13,146 citations for cell phone use/texting while driving and 5,697 for careless driving. In addition, participating police agencies issued 6,538 and 5,712 speeding and seat belt citations, respectively. The crackdown focused on distracted driving, but as with all statewide traffic safety initiatives, motorists were reminded of the lifesaving benefits of proper restraint usage and obeying posted speed limits. It is estimated that more than 20,000 enforcement hours were worked during the campaign, which included 74 fixed distracted driving checkpoints.

Our message to drivers is that “your attention should be focused solely on driving, and nothing else.” Any phone conversation, hand-held or hands-free, is distracting and can take your attention away from the road and that is dangerous and unacceptable.

As part of the Division’s efforts to continue educating motorists year-round about the law, posters, palm cards and other literature and materials displaying the new “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” message will be displayed in strategic locations across the State. Signs are also posted at major entry points to the State, to ensure that both residents and visitors to New Jersey know about the cell phone law. In 2019 and beyond, this Division along with our local, county, state, and federal partners will be working to create innovative and effective countermeasures to make our roadways safer.

I invite everyone to visit the Division’s web site www.NJSafeRoads.com which contains a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics with new information 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’re going and gets back to their loved ones SAFELY.

March 2019 (Director's Welcome)

I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to serve the public in this position which has been so honorably held by my predecessors.

I see this as a critical moment in traffic safety with so many challenges facing us. The greatest challenges lie in maximizing both safety and the flow of traffic while minimizing the cost of both. But in these critical times, there are limitless opportunities for great innovations and outcomes. It is time for our State to lead the way in traffic safety programs and crash prevention.

The mission of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is the safe passage of all roadway users in New Jersey. In other words, we are charged with getting everyone where they are going safely. We exist to create and maintain essential traffic safety programs and relationships that are needed to keep our roadways safe. The Division sponsors public education and awareness campaigns, research, data collection and analysis, as well as law enforcement initiatives that deal with an array of traffic safety issues.

But, the most important factor has always been the folks using our roadways. The pivotal piece in our traffic safety framework is that our drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians make sound decisions based on a mutual care and respect for each other on the roadways.

New Jersey is unique in its geography, population density, and its highway usage. There are almost 3 million registered vehicles in New Jersey and well over 6 million drivers who, at times, seem like they are all on the road at the same time. It is a very intricate and complex dance that occurs on our highways every single day of every year which only works as well as it does through the hard work and dedication of our highway professionals and law enforcement folks who truly care and take responsibility for your safety and that of everyone on our roadways. But, with these factors at play, there is no place on our roadways for intoxicated, distracted, drowsy, or unrestrained drivers. In our State, driver inattention is a factor in more than half of our traffic crashes and intoxication by drugs or alcohol is present in 25% of our fatal crashes.

In 2019 and beyond, this Division along with our local, State, and Federal partners will be working to create innovative and effective countermeasures to make our roadways safer than ever.

I invite everyone to visit the Division’s web site www.NJSafeRoads.com which contains a wealth of information on a wide array of traffic safety topics with new information 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’re going and gets back to their loved ones SAFELY.

Translate »