Police campaign ‘puts the brakes’ on fatal accidents

By MICHAEL NUNES
Staff Writer

East Brunswick — The East Brunswick Police Department is adopting a new campaign to crack down on motor vehicle crashes due to an increase in fatalities.

“We’ve experienced several fatal motor vehicle accidents over the past year,” said Sgt. Chris Soke, who is with the department’s special operations division.

With an up-tick of motor vehicle accidents in the township, police are promoting the “Put the Brakes on Fatalities” campaign.

The move comes after a series of fatal car crashes this year. According to Soke, there was only one fatality resulting from a crash last year while there were three deaths this year to date.

In a one-vehicle accident in February on Ryders Lane, a car carrying a father and three children veered into the opposite lane and struck the curb before hitting a telephone pole head-on. The father was killed and the children sustained injuries.

In June, a motorcycle accident on Cranbury Road in East Brunswick left the driver dead and the passenger injured.

In July, a member of Spotswood EMS was killed in a crash on Cranberry Road while responding to a call.

“Put the Brakes on Fatalities” is a national campaign with the goal of raising public awareness of major causes of transportation fatalities and how to avoid them.

To raise awareness of the traffic laws already in place, the East Brunswick Police Department will undertake various campaigns to promote public safety, including a commercial that will broadcast on EBTV.

In addition, a sign has been erected on Route 18 on the Cranberry Road overpass to raise awareness of the “move over law”.

The law, which was passed by the Legislature in 2009, mandates drivers to create an empty lane of traffic when passing a parked emergency vehicle when possible or risk a fine set by the municipality. In the event a driver can’t change lanes, they must reduce speeds when approaching the parked vehicle.

The department is also instituting a zerotolerance policy for motor vehicle violations.

“The zero-tolerance enforcement program specifically targets violations that are hazardous to public safety such as speeding, careless driving, signal violations, failing to yield to pedestrians, DWI,” a press release from the East Brunswick Police Department states.

“Motorists are reminded to stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection and must remain stopped until said pedestrian(s) finishes crossing. Additionally, drivers are reminded that they are required to abide by all traffic laws and regulations at all times.”

Soke said there would be no leeway as the department enforces the policy.

“Anyone who’s observed by our officers who are putting the public at risk will be stopped.”

Contact Michael Nunes at mnunes@gmnews.com.