100 deadly days of summer — how NJ cops are cracking down
🔴 "100 Deadly Days" begin with the unofficial start of summer
🔴 Police crackdowns are planned for each month
🔴 Drivers are encouraged to use common sense behind the wheel
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — In New Jersey alone, hundreds of lives may be lost on the roads between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The span between the two holiday weekends is known to road-safety advocates and officials as the "100 deadly days of summer." Historically, more than 10,000 people die in crashes during the summer months across the U.S. on a yearly basis.
"These statistics are still shocking to me, and they should be to you, too, because nearly all of these deaths will have been preventable," Mike Rizol, director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, said during a Tuesday morning press conference at a AAA location in Freehold.
Increased patrols this summer
In order to keep the fatality and injury count as low as possible, officers are increasing their presence on the roads and enforcement of road rules over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer.
More than 130 municipalities were awarded federal funding to set up checkpoints and increase patrols as part of a statewide Click It or Ticket campaign that's underway and targets seat belt usage. The mobilization is scheduled to continue through the middle of June.
In 2022, police throughout New Jersey issued more than 53,000 seat belt summonses. Last year, 50% of the vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were not buckled up, Rizol said.
Special attention will be paid to speeding in the month of July. As part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's anti-speeding campaign, additional police officers will be on patrol enforcing the speed limit.
"Speeding can change a minor crash into a tragedy," Rizol said.
And the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" messaging will take over in August.
So far this year, New Jersey State Police has arrested 2,000 impaired drivers, according to Lt. Kevin Bartels.
Over the long Memorial Day Weekend, NJSP will have additional patrols on the road for driving-while-intoxicated enforcement.
"One hundred troopers, over 800 hours, and that's not going to be the end of these details," Bartels said.
Ninety-one percent of the more than 1 million New Jersey residents traveling for the upcoming holiday weekend are expected to do so by car, according to AAA. That's a 6% increase from last year, nearing pre-pandemic levels.
"AAA is reminding everybody to always buckle up, refrain from driving impaired, put your phone away, and focus on the road, and please follow the posted speed limits," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.