Senate Approves Van Drew Bill To Help Towns Set Speed Limits

TRENTON – The Senate today approved a bill sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew to help municipalities and counties set speed limits for roads based on specific criteria such as the presence of school children and the proximity of parks, child care facilities and senior centers.

The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 39 to 0 and forwarded it to the Assembly.

“This bill will provide officials and community residents the backup they need to justify a call to slow down the traffic to maximize safety in a neighborhood,” said Senator Van Drew, D-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland.

Under the measure, S-1234, a municipality or county would be required to consider residential density, the presence or lack of sidewalks, exit ways for commercial establishments, whether children use the road to walk to their school, and the closeness of parks, schools, residences, day and child care centers or senior communities.

“It seems like common sense, but by putting these criteria into the law, we can provide the backup needed to increase safety based on specific factors,” Senator Van Drew said.

In 1999, a law was enacted to authorize municipalities and counties to have greater discretion to establish reasonable and safe speed limits within their jurisdictions. But the authorization did not include any specific criteria to be used in establishing speed limits, Senator Van Drew said.

“If children are in danger because of cars speeding them as they walk to school, it shouldn’t take years of delays to lower the speed limits,” Senator Van Drew said. “This bill will make government more responsive to the needs of a community.”