A February 2017 report released by the National Highway and Transportation Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were 35,092 traffic fatalities in 2015. This is one fatality nearly every fifteen minutes. There is still much to be done to reduce the number of fatalities and a collective nationwide effort is needed if there is any hope of reaching the goal of a day with zero deaths. As such, on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, motorists in New Jersey and throughout the nation are asked to join in a day-long initiative aimed at increasing awareness about the importance of safe driving behaviors in an effort to keep the State’s roadways fatality free for one-day.

‘Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day’, is a national initiative aimed at uniting the country in achieving one full day of zero traffic related deaths by encouraging safer behavior and actions, promoting safer roadways and vehicles, and creating improved ways to handle medical emergencies and enforcement of traffic regulations. Motor vehicle fatalities were the leading cause of death for all Americans age 11 and for every age from 16 through 24 in 2014. Whether as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, cyclist or professional, a concerted effort by all can make a huge difference in reducing, to zero, the number of fatalities occurring on our nation’s roads.

The goal of ‘Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day’ is to encourage everyone – drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists, to take extra caution this October 10th to prevent crashes from occurring. The focus for 2017 is to reduce the many contributing distractions to fatal accidents as emphasized by the national theme “Don’t be Driven to Distraction – Drive to Arrive.”

To support this effort, the Manchester Township Police Department will deploy additional patrol units for increased traffic enforcement, as well as utilize a visual message board encouraging motorists to take extra care while driving.

Last year in New Jersey, 603 individuals lost their lives in motor vehicle-related crashes, up from 562 in 2015. Additionally, distracted driving fatalities have increased at an alarming rate over the last 4 years. In 2013, there were 58 fatalities on the State’s roadways in which distracted driving was a major contributing factor. That number ballooned to 115 fatalities in 2016, or 19 percent of all traffic deaths. To help battle this growing problem, the State’s #77 alert system is now used to report all forms of dangerous driving, from those operating a vehicle while looking at a cell phone to those driving while impaired.

“Clearly, this effort will go a long way in our continuing efforts to stem the tide of tragedies that occur every day on New Jersey’s roadways,” Chief Lisa Parker said. “Shining the spotlight on this one day can help create a groundswell of support for good driving behaviors that can carry over throughout the year.”

“Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day not only raises awareness about the individual responsibility we have for our driving behaviors, but also engages drivers in making positive changes behind-the-wheel every day of the year,” Chief Parker added.

Additional information on the “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day” is available by logging on to www.asce.org/brakesonfatalities .