State, county and municipal law enforcement agencies initiated “Operation 130 Safe Passage” along Route 130 in Burlington County in 2013.
The highway stretches through 11 municipalities, including Cinnaminson, Delran, Bordentown City, Bordentown Township, Mansfield, Florence, Burlington City, Burlington Township, Edgewater Park, Willingboro and Delanco.
Officers from each of those towns, as well as Riverside and the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department, participated in the enforcement operations.
Municipal police departments involved in the operation signed shared services agreements that allowed them to cross jurisdictions to enforce traffic laws.
The Sheriff’s Department received a total of $225,000 from the Division of Highway Traffic Safety to administer the grant project through September of 2014.
“The way to stop tragedies on our roadways is change the behaviors of those behind the wheel and the most effective way to do that is with high-visibility enforcement,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “The message travels fast when police are visible and when drivers know laws are being enforced, their behavior starts to change.”
Results of recent surveys support Poedubicky’s message.
Surveys conducted by local law enforcement before and after implementation of the initiative showed sharp reductions in the rates of speeding (down 68 percent), distracted driving (81 percent) and other various infractions (80 percent).
The 22.5-mile stretch of the road, which was the scene of 20 pedestrian fatalities from 2007 to 2013, has experienced zero pedestrian deaths since Operation 130 Safe Passage began.
There were two fatal crashes during this time, in July of 2013 and January of 2014, but neither involved pedestrians. Both accidents remain under investigation.
"These results show the strong, positive impact that law enforcement agencies can have when they work together proactively to address a tragic trend," Hoffman said. "We are going to take the valuable lessons learned through these efforts on Route 130 and continue to apply them wherever there is critical need to protect the public."
Local law enforcement officials believed that excessive speed played a major role in the fatalities. Immediately prior to enforcement activities, pre-operational traffic studies were conducted to assess the driving behavior along this highway.
The studies concluded that no drivers in Burlington City complied with school zone speed limits. The slowest car was going 37 miles-per-hour (mph), and most vehicles were going in excess of 50 mph, in a 25 mph school zone. A school bus was recorded at 41 mph, officials said.
“This project has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Burlington County law enforcement agencies to work together to make our roadways safer,” Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield said. “The public notices when an officer from another jurisdiction is writing tickets in a different town, and this new awareness increases compliance with motor vehicle laws.”
During this year-long stretch, the participating agencies have issued summonses for speeding (444), cell phone violations (346) and driving while intoxicated (37). More than 3,500 summonses and warnings were written in total.