2004-02-19 / Front Page

Route 1 designated ‘Safe Corridor’; fines doubled

Fines will double
on highway through North Brunswick
BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP
Staff Writer

Route 1 designated ‘Safe Corridor’; fines doubled

Fines will double

on highway through North Brunswick

BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP

Staff Writer

NORTH BRUNSWICK — Route 1 motorists will now pay double fines if they disobey traffic laws on sections of Route 1.

The state Department of Transportation (DOT) put into effect a "Safe Corridors" law on Feb. 15 that doubles fines on nearly 130 miles of state roadway, including 10 miles of Route 1, according to North Brunswick police Sgt. William Kloos.

"I hope the enforcement of the double fine encourages the motoring public to comply with motor vehicular laws," Kloos said.

In an effort to reduce the risk of accidents and injury on state highways, last July Gov. James E. McGreevey signed the "Safe Corridors" program into law.

The law doubles fines for driving offenses, such aggressive driving and speeding, on sections of routes 1, 9, 22, 40, 46, 47, 73 and 206.

"This is an effort to reduce motor vehicle collisions on some of the busiest roadways with the highest accident rates," Kloos said.

The state will use the doubled fines to establish a "Highway Safety Fund" for highway safety programs, driver education, capital projects, and the enhancement of state and local police enforcement, he explained.

McGreevey did not designate all of Route 1 as a "Safe Corridor," Kloos said. Route 1 is a "Safe Corridor" from just north of Old Post Road in Edison to Henderson Road in South Brunswick, and from Carnegie Center Boulevard in West Windsor to just north of the Route 1 toll bridge in Trenton.

Jack Lettiere, commissioner of the DOT, said the state designated sections of Route 1 as a "Safe Corridor" based upon accident rates, fatalities, traffic volume and other highway-traffic safety criteria.

The highway sections were designated as "Safe Corridors" based on statistics showing a crash rate 50 percent greater than the overall state rate, Lettiere said.

"As this program moves forward, we will closely monitor the safety level of these corridors and act accordingly. This is just an initial list, and more may be added as our data warrants," he said, adding that once crash rates recede, DOT will relax the double fines.

"It is our responsibility to ensure New Jersey’s roads are made as safe as possible, and we will take whatever technological, engineering or enforcement steps necessary to accomplish this goal," Lettiere said. " ‘Safe Corridors’ demonstrates our zero tolerance for anyone who jeopardizes the well-being of New Jersey motorists."

Kloos said the designation of the entire stretch of Route 1 in North Brunswick as a "Safe Corridor" does not mean township police will target the area to issue summonses.

"We will continue to enforce the traffic laws on Route 1 as we always have," he said.

The DOT will continue to monitor all highway data and review the initial "Safe Corridors" within a year to chart the program’s progress, Lettiere said.

"Safe Corridors" is part of the Safety First initiative that McGreevey first announced in November 2002, Kloos said.

Through Safety First, DOT has also established Safety Impact Teams to investigate necessary highway improvements, and allocated $20 million for engineering and technological highway improvements.

The Safety Impact Teams, which are comprised of individuals from the DOT, NJ Transit, the Federal Highway Administration, state and local law enforcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, conducted a study on the Route 1 corridor last May.

As a result of the study, McGreevey allotted $3 million to improve signal timing for cars and pedestrians at intersections and directional signs, to resurface the roadway, and to explore establishing a driver-safety partnership with the business community, Lettiere said.

In the next two years, he added, the state anticipates adding more signs that highlight the #77 Aggressive Driver hotline and more raised pavement reflectors to the roadway.

According to the DOT, more than 677,000 vehicles travel on Route 1 daily. Nearly 1,400 accidents have occurred there in the last two years.


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