Friday, November 20, 2015

Number of speeding tickets issued on turnpike and parkway has declined dramatically, New Jersey State Police say

The New Jersey State Police say they are achieving their main objective: Lowering the number of fatal accidents on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. (Photo credit: The Associated Press)


The number of speeding summonses issued on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway has dropped dramatically in the past five years.

The decline on the turnpike is especially stark -- 9,950 speeding tickets so far in 2015, compared to 18,193 in 2010, the New Jersey State Police say.

On the parkway, 6,543 summonses have been issued to date in 2015, compared to 9,669 in 2010.

At the request of Eye on The Record, the state police on Thursday also released statistics for the number of careless driving summonses issued on the state's busiest roads:

Careless driving tickets on the turnpike have dropped to 13,315 so far in 2015 from 16,414 in 2010.

On the parkway, the number of careless driving summonses has actually increased, to 19,462 to date in 2015 from 17,316 in 2010.

Drivers who speed, tailgate or weave through slower traffic are a major quality of life issue to motorists who obey the law as the state's roads become increasingly congested.

The Record's John Cichowski, who has written the Road Warrior column for a dozen years, has ignored speeding and careless driving to explore more important issues.

On Wednesday, his column quoted drivers complaining they will have to carry around letters from the Motor Vehicle Commission to show a change of address.

What does it mean?

Lt. Brian Polite, a state police spokesman, cautioned drivers against interpreting the statistics as a license to speed or an indication there is less enforcement than before.

"We still enforce the law," he said today. "When troopers see drivers violating the law, they will take the appropriate action."

When state police were first asked for the statistics, they pointed to their success in lowering the number of fatal accidents on the busy toll roads.

Fatal accidents on the parkway dropped to seven so far in 2015, compared to 25 in 2010 and 31 in 2005.

On the turnpike, which is used by both cars and trucks, there have been 19 fatal accidents so far in 2015, compared to 13 in 2010 and 23 in 2005.

Lt. Polite also points to "better driving behavior" to explain the decline in the number of speeding and careless driving summonses.

Today's paper

The lead story on Page 1 today is silent on what, if anything, Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye did to improve the lives of commuters since the political appointee took over the job in November 2011 at a grossly inflated salary (A-1).

You could say Foye, who is paid an outrageous $289,000 a year, merely fleeced toll payers at the Hudson River crossings, and fee payers at the agency's air and sea ports.

The big, black front-page headline and editing of the Foye story are amateurish:

The news isn't that he is leaving "by March," but that the board of commissioners doesn't see him as fit to be the agency's first non-political chief executive officer.

That is one of the reforms put in place after the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal in 2013.

And despite the insistence of Staff Writer Shawn Boburg, it remains to be seen whether Foye "earns" the $289,000 he is being paid (A-4).

On Wednesday, The Record's story on the departure of another political appointee, NJ Transit Executive Director Ronnie Hakim, also didn't cite any improvements for bus and train riders in her nearly two years in that job.

Gone fishing

Today's lukewarm review of Fish Urban Dining ignores the clunky name, and doesn't tell readers whether the expensive Ridgewood restaurant serves local seafood (BL-16).

Critic Elisa Ung seemed intent on sampling non-Jersey seafood -- such as redfish, Alaskan oysters, shrimp and octopus -- and couldn't wait to dive into the artery clogging desserts.

The acronym for Fish Urban Dining is FUD, rhymes with "dud."

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