Safety grants yield positive results


METUCHEN — Police say the results from the two $500,000 grants they received from the state Division of Highway and Traffic Safety — the Pedestrian Safety Grant and the Aggressive Driving Grant — have been successful.

Patrolman David Liantonio, who designed and applied for the two grants, said the department saw a need for them. The two grants were a first for the department.

“For the Pedestrian Safety Grant, we concentrated on the month of September with school starting … especially with that tragic incident with the little girl last year,” he said.O


n Oct. 24, 2007, a van traveling westbound on Durham Avenue attempting a left turn onto Central Avenue struck Nicole Lewis, 27, and her 3-year-old daughter, Shaneil, who were walking in the crosswalk heading east toward Durham Avenue. The 3-year-old died of her injuries.

“We concentrated on that intersection and many other intersections throughout the borough,” said Liantonio.

The police department spent 97 overtime hours concentrating on pedestrian safety during all times of the day. Police issued 240 summonses, of which 134 included motorists failing to yield to pedestrians in September. Two arrests were made.

“We’ve had many complaints over the years of motorists not yielding to pedestrians,” he said.

For the Aggressive Driving Grant, the police department spent 100 overtime hours watching for aggressive motorists in the months of July and August.

“These types of incidents involve improper passing,

speeding, road rage incidents,

crossing hatch areas, and failure to observe traffic signals,” said Liantonio.

Police issued 261 summonses and four arrests were made.

“Our problem is traffic and speeding in the borough,” said Liantonio. “This was the base that we felt the need for these two grants.”

Liantonio said he hopes to get these two grants again next year.

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