Route 206 ‘Safe corridor’ fines may make road safer

By:Roger Alvarado
   A new state law that mandates the doubling of many traffic-violation fines in the newly designated "safe corridors," including much of the highway in Hillsborough, has gone into effect.
   As of Sunday, fines for those traveling along a 10-mile section of Route 206 beginning in Montgomery between Woodthrush Lane and Opossum Road and ending at milepost 70 in Hillsborough between Dukes Parkway West and Orlando Drive will be doubled.
   The law was signed by Gov. James E. McGreevey last July and is part of the state’s new "zero tolerance" policy against speeding and aggressive driving.
   "The new law does not change our enforcement, just the fines," said Lt. Paul Kaminsky. "Our overall enforcement in that area is aggressive already. Hopefully what the new law will do is get individuals who receive summonses and substantially increased fines to comply to the laws along the 206 corridor.
   Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Horan During has said that in 2002 in that 10-mile section there were 1,218 vehicle crashes, and the average accident rate for that type of highway across the state is "2.68 crashes per million vehicle miles. On this actual strip of highway it is 4.7 crashes per million vehicle miles."
   In contrast, the 10-mile stretch of Route 206 just north of the new safe corridor had 744 vehicle crashes in the same time period, according to Mr. Horan.
   The average accident rate for a highway like Route 206 is 4.62 crashes per million vehicle miles, and on this actual strip of highway it is 3.32 crashes per million vehicle miles.
   According to Mr. Horan, the list of safe corridors is not permanent.Sections of highways deemed to be safe corridors are ones in which accidents occur 50 percent over the state average and there are more than 1,000 vehicle crashes annually, said Mr. Horan.
   The doubled fines will go to a new Highway Safety Fund set up under the new law. The fund will be managed by the Department of Transportation as a grant program to fund local law enforcement.
   According to the law, "moneys in the fund are to be used exclusively for highway safety projects and programs, including education, enforcement, capital undertakings and such other related measures and undertakings as the DOT and the State Police may deem appropriate to foster highway safety."