TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety are reminding motorists and pedestrians to exhibit caution when traveling this Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest and most dangerous on New Jersey’s roadways.
“If you’re on the road for Thanksgiving, you should make sure to not only obey the laws designed to keep people safe while driving, but also be on the lookout for those who are being reckless and dangerous,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Use caution on the roads, and don’t hesitate to report inattentive motorists when you see them.”
While Thanksgiving is a time of joy and family get-togethers, it is also a deadly and hazardous time to be behind the wheel. Last Thanksgiving weekend, seven people died, a decrease over the 15 who were killed during the five-day weekend in 2015. Of those seven, one was a pedestrian, and three of the deaths were the result of two crashes in which the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Distracted driving continues to be a major cause of both fatal and nonfatal crashes, said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. The problem of drivers’ texting or talking on their cell phones while behind the wheel was the reason why New Jersey expanded the role of the #77 hotline in April to include the reporting of distracted driving as well as aggressive driving.
“The Division and Attorney General Porrino earlier this year took steps to make New Jersey’s roadways safer all throughout the year,” said Poedubicky. “We urge people during this weekend to use the #77 hotline to report distracted and dangerous driving when they see it. Their vigilance could help save someone else’s life.”
Under the new #77 system, motorists, passengers and pedestrians can report dangerous driving by calling the hotline and giving an operator as much information as possible, such as location, make, model, color and license plate of the vehicle and the behavior observed.
Since the new #77 initiative was introduced in April, more than 2,300 calls to the hotline concerning distracted driving have been received, according to State Police statistics. Overall, the #77 line has received more than 30,000 calls concerning aggressive and dangerous driving.
The Divisions of Highway Traffic Safety and State Police offered the following tips to ensure a safe Thanksgiving holiday.
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