Police ramp up traffic enforcement on Route 539

     An overturned car from an Oct. 2014 crash on Route 539 in Manchester. (Photo courtesy of the Manchester Police Department)

    An overturned car from an Oct. 2014 crash on Route 539 in Manchester. (Photo courtesy of the Manchester Police Department)

    Law enforcement agencies are conducting “directed” motor vehicle enforcement details along a deadly stretch of Route 539 in Lacey due to the recent increase in serious crashes.

    The Lacey Police Department, in cooperation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and neighboring law enforcement agencies, are strictly enforcing all motor vehicle laws “to mitigate the hazardous conditions created by reckless driving on the county road,” said Lacey Chief David A. Paprota, Ed.D. in a release, adding that all municipal police agencies that patrol the Ocean County stretch of roadway are also participating. 

    According to police, since February 18, 2013, there have been 14 fatal motor vehicle crashes along the nearly 38-mile stretch of county roadway that runs north and south through eight municipalities in Ocean County. Four of the fatal crashes occurred in Lacey.

    The five-mile stretch through the township has a single land in each direction with a minimal paved shoulder area.

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    “With violators exceeding the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit and aggressively passing slower vehicles, there is significant danger posed to others, as there is no room for error since the dirt portion of the shoulder of the roadway is mostly very soft and loose sand,” Paprota said.

    When drivers make a mistake, the consequences are sometimes severe, he said.

    “The crashes on Route 539 tend to be very serious and result in serious injury, and in too many cases, fatalities,” the chief said.

    Paprota said that additional plans are underway.

    “Cooperative efforts are also being undertaken to have improvements made to the roadway to include center line rumble strips to warn motorists who drift onto or across the center lines into the oncoming lane,” he said.

    Police will also placing traffic warning signs along Route 539 in Ocean County.

    “All of the aforementioned efforts are being made with the intention of increasing safety along the very heavily travelled roadway, which commonly serves as the conduit between western New Jersey and the South Jersey attractions,” Paprota said.

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