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State Police boss gives troopers unusual task

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Troopers who patrol New Jersey’s roads will have an unusual start to their days this holiday season: daily shift briefings will include personal stories from MADD representatives.

Col. Rick Fuentes, the State Police Superintendent, hopes the presentations by Mothers Against Drunk Driving help troopers make the connection between their vigilance and the power it has to protect a family from intense suffering and pain.

State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes (CLIFFVIEWPILOT photo)

He hopes motorists have the same mindset.

“There are a number of decisions people make before any trip,” Fuentes said, “but the first and most important is ‘Should I be driving?’”

The presentations begin Thanksgiving morning and will include personal stories, the colonel said.

Last year, nine people died in vehicle accidents in New Jersey during the Thanksgiving holiday period, an increase from six in 2007.

Fuentes is proud that 2008 overall saw a record low for fatal crashes in New Jersey that could be broken this year. As of this morning, 520 motorists had died on New Jersey roads, a 2.3% reduction from last year at this time.

State Police offer some tips:

* Steer clear of “road ragers.”  Challenging an aggressive driver for position — what’s the point? Better yet: What’s the risk?

* Plan your trip. Map the route, fill your tank, check tire pressure, lights and wiper blades.

* If alcohol figures into your plans, plan in advance to have a designated driver.

* Do not touch the accelerator until everyone in the car is buckled up.

* Make sure you’re rested. Driving drowsy is the same as if you were drunk or on drugs.

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