def #103 05/26/10
WHEN IT COMES TO ROADS OCEAN COUNTY PUTS SAFETY FIRST
TOMS RIVER – Safety first. It’s a theme Ocean County officials are driving home especially when it comes to
warm weather and safety on the roads.
“We subscribe to the three Es of traffic safety,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public
Safety. “Engineering, education and enforcement are what we look at to make sure our roads are safely designed and
motorists are using them properly.”
With the summer quickly approaching, Ocean County kicks into high gear with implementing traffic safety
educational programs and enforcement.
“We look at traffic safety year round,” Kelly said. “But as a tourism county our year-round population doubles
in the summer months and with that comes a substantial increase of cars on our roadways.
“It’s extremely important we stress safety,” Kelly said. “We do all we can to make sure all of the county’s
road improvement projects come with safety enhancements. When it comes to the driver behind the wheel we can educate
about safety but the onus is on the driver to drive responsibly.”
Kelly noted this summer will be the first to have the new pedestrian crossing law in effect. As of April 1,
motorists who see pedestrians in a crosswalk must stop and stay stopped allowing the pedestrian to safely cross the
In order to raise awareness of this new law, the county has designed an educational campaign to make residents
and seasonal visitors aware of the new law.
The campaign will start on Long Beach Island as the county rolls out up to a dozen trailer message boards and
variable message signs at strategic locations.
“We are coordinating our efforts with local police departments and the state Department of Transportation,” Kelly said.
“The safety campaign will move throughout the county as the summer season progresses.”
Kelly noted the county will do as much as it can to encourage safety on its roadways, however, he noted pedestrians and
motorists alike need to be responsible for their actions as well.
“People need to be alert to their surroundings,” Kelly said. “Distractions like cell phones, text messaging and simply
not paying attention results in accidents. These are things that easily can be avoided.”
Kelly noted that Ocean County works closely with law enforcement agencies throughout the county. Those efforts are
ramped up during the summer months.
Programs like Click It or Ticket, which promotes the importance of wearing seatbelts and the 101 Days of Summer, which
promotes driving safety, are just two of the initiatives Ocean County supports.
Kelly recognized the work of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in particular the increased DUI (driving under the
influence) safety campaign stops during the summer months.
“As we kick off the summer season this weekend, law enforcement will be participating in enhanced traffic safety
measures, including safe driving road blocks,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford. “We ask the driving
public for their understanding and patience, since these traffic details really cause people to think twice before they
get behind the wheel of a car after they have been drinking.”
Prosecutor Ford noted that the Board of Freeholders in the county’s 2010 budget, not withstanding the difficult fiscal
times, still provided money in the Prosecutor's Programs allocations for the DUI Task Force, which conducts the road
block traffic stops.
“The money is used to compensate the local police for their overtime,” Ford said. “It is money well spent, since the
road blocks, although an annoyance to many, really have a deterrent effect on drunk driving. About $37,000 is allocated
to this purpose.”
Kelly said Ocean County continues to be proactive in implementing safety features on its roadways.
Safety enhancements throughout the county include audible pedestrian pushbuttons, pedestrian countdown heads,
radar signs, solar powered flashers, wet reflective paint, high friction surface treatments, and color-coated surface
“Many of these enhancements add a new dimension of awareness for pedestrians and motorists,” said Freeholder Director
James F. Lacey, who serves as liaison to the county’s Road Department. “We maintain 2,000 lane miles in Ocean County –
one of the largest county road networks in the state. It’s a combination of our efforts, the efforts of law enforcement
and the responsibility of the driver and the pedestrian that help make roads safe.”