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The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority is calling for drivers to be more cautious on roadways Wednesday, for a day they're calling "Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day."
The NJTPA launched the effort in 2001 and focused on the month of October, which is annually among the peak months for traffic fatalities.
But area commuters have been enjoying safe Octobers in recent years, at least those traveling Interstate 78 between the I-287 interchange and Watchung's eastern border.
For those drivers, July has been the most deadly month in recent years, a look at accidents reports showed. One person was killed in the area in each of the last two months of July.
That's one of the surprising bits of information that a study of the 18 accidents reported on Patch indicate. But there's more that becomes apparent in looking at the accidents:
- About 40 percent of the accidents occurred in a two-mile stretch of I-78 in Bernards Township, near the Liberty Corner Road exit.
- Nearly one on four accidents on the road occured between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
- And more accidents have occurred in the last five weeks than in the previous three months.
As part of the NJTPA Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, the authority issued a list of reminders, highlighting safe driving tips to follow to avoid accidents—and some of the reminders are highlighted in the accident reports.
For example, the NJTPA says drivers should:
- Avoid cutting in front of other vehicles as you may create an emergency braking situation for others around you, especially in heavy traffic. Several accidents include mentions of erratic driving before accidents.
- Always buckle your seat belt. Police said a passenger killed when the vehicle she was in went off the roadway was not believed to be wearing her seat belt.
- Avoid aggressive drivers and driving aggressively. Witnesses said a car that crashed and sent five to the hospital in August had been driving aggressively before the accident.
- Never drink and drive. Alcohol has been cited as a factor in two of the the accidents, but may have contributed to more.
- Watch your blind spots and the “No Zones” around trucks and buses.
- Focus only on the road while driving. If you need to attend to another matter while driving, safely pull over in a parking lot or rest stop.
- Avoid squeeze play. Be careful of trucks and buses making wide right turns. If you try to get in between the truck and the curb, you could be caught in a squeeze and suffer a serious accident.
- Keep up with the maintenance on your vehicle.
- Stop to allow pedestrians in the crosswalk to safely cross the street.
- Use crosswalks or cross at the corner when on foot.
- Wear an approved helmet regardless of whether you ride a bike or motorcycle.
- Eliminate all distractions so that you’re 100 percent focused on driving, walking or biking and able to react.
For more traffic safety tips and other information about Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, visit the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety at www.njsaferoads.com.