539 Initiative

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced his Safety/Enforcement Initiative to address the rash of eleven (11) fatal crashes and numerous serious accidents that had occurred from 2013 to July 31, of 2015 along County Route 539 will team up again to remind drivers to drive responsibly.  The detail will run from Friday (8/12) to Sunday (8/28).

Prosecutor Coronato stated, “Last year’s initiative concluded with over 600 vehicle stops and zero fatalities for the 32 day effort.  The great news is that we have continued to see zero fatalities to date.  We want to not only celebrate that success, but use the detail to educate drivers of the wonderful end result of driving responsibly.  

Last year’s CR539 detail managed to raise significant awareness among the motoring public regarding the safety issues along CR539, but more important it led to coordinated efforts by Ocean County Law Enforcement, Ocean County Engineering and Road Departments to take important steps toward making commuting along CR539 safer.”  

Prosecutor Coronato continued, “The many partners involved in last year’s effort want to build on that success with this visible reminder that the responsibility of driving safety never ends.  Though the coordinated enforcement element will conclude the end of August, policing agencies along CR539 will continue to make CR539 patrols a priority.  Now that the partnership logistics and plans have been worked out, the coordinated enforcement element can be quickly reinstituted in the event of increased reports of accidents or dangerous driving behaviors.”

The safety/enforcement initiative on CR 539 between Tuckerton and Plumsted Borough encompasses seven (7) municipal jurisdictions traversing 38 miles of roadway in Ocean County from Milepost 0 – 38.  The road crosses through the towns of Tuckerton, Little Egg Harbor, Stafford, Barnegat, Lacey, Manchester, Plumsted and Jackson.  This two-lane highway runs southeast to northwest through Ocean County and is frequently used by local seniors, commuters traveling to the Trenton area, tourists looking to vacation along the Jersey Shore and a large amount of commercial trucks.

The partnership is the result of extensive meetings called for by Prosecutor Coronato with local police chiefs, county officers/officials, NJ State Police and the Ocean County Road/Engineering Departments to address CR539 safety issues.  Beyond the enforcement element, the initiative includes Engineering and Education elements which will continue into the future.  The crafted initiative is a coordinated multi-jurisdictional/agency effort supported by the Chiefs of Police and Department Heads from the following jurisdictions/agencies:

  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ocean County Sheriff’s Department
  • NJ State Police Troop “C” – Red Lion and Tuckerton Stations
  • NJ State Police Troop “C” – Tactical Patrol Unit
  • NJ State Police – Transportation Safety Bureau
  • Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders
  • Ocean County Road Department
  • Ocean County Engineering Department
  • Barnegat Police Department
  • Jackson Police Department
  • Lacey Police Department
  • Little Egg Harbor Police Department
  • Manchester Police Department
  • Plumsted Police Department
  • Stafford Police Department
  • Tuckerton Police Department

The enforcement element of the initiative this weekend will bring vigilant and aggressive enforcement of all those motor vehicle moving and equipment violations that are major contributory causes to crashes.  These causes include, but are not limited to, Improper Passing, Excessive Speed, Driving While Under the Influence, Aggressive Driving, Improper Turning, Failing to Yield, Inattentive Driving, Disregard of Traffic Signal, Following Too Close and various commercial carrier violations such as overweight, equipment maintenance and brake pressure.  Additionally as part of the enforcement efforts, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office personnel assigned to the detail will utilized unmarked police vehicles to report any aggressive and erratic driving to operating marked units, all policing agencies are encouraged to utilize patrol vehicles equipped with Automated License Plate Readers, and Variable Message Signs will be strategically placed along the roadway.

The engineering aspect of the initiative has to date completed many of the below proposed safety improvements:

  1. Rumble strips: Reduces centerline crossover motor vehicle accidents often caused by sleepy motorists or those traveling at excessive speeds.
  1. Raised pavement markers: These markers are fairly common on roadways today and are designed to increase nighttime visibility. They are typically placed along the center lines of a roadway and reflect the light from a motor vehicle’s headlights to outline the lanes of a highway in rural areas.
  1. All-weather reflective striping: Makes the lines on a roadway easier to see at night (like a cat’s eyes), particularly in bad weather conditions.
  1. Radar-activated LED (light-emitting diode) chevron signs placed in clusters at curves and will light up in a synchronous pattern when a motor vehicle approaches to outline the sharpness of the curve.
  1. High-friction road surface designed to prevent a vehicle from skidding when its driver attempts to stop suddenly from a high rate of speed.

The education element will also continue to include signage, media postings, radio public service announcements, awareness posters and coordinated social media postings by all the partnering agencies.  Prosecutor Coronato has directed all participating Chiefs to continue to be proactive in keeping media informed of crash stats and initiative developments.

We continue to ask the motoring public to police themselves by simply driving responsibly.


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