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Meet New Jersey’s new speed traps

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Yesterday, a bill made it out of an Assembly committee which could be a cash cow for a lot of towns. Part of a package of bills called “Antwan’s Law,” it would allow towns to establish permanent lower speed limits near schools. Right now you have school zones during certain times when schools are in session. Another part of this package triples the fine you pay. Interesting.

“Antwan’s Law” is named for Antwan Timbers Jr., a 17-year-old high school student who was struck and killed while walking on Route 130 in Burlington City last year. Sounds like the law makes sense, right? A student walking home at the end of his school day gets hit because some jerk is speeding, and it shouldn’t be allowed.

What if I told you Antwan was tragically killed at around midnight, not when school let out, and by a drunk driver? The school was closed. Empty. An equally tragic story, yes. But he wasn’t walking home from school. He was walking with a friend near a Wawa that happened to be near the school.

Does it make sense to have speeds reduced near schools 24 hours a day 7 days a week when the schools are closed and not attracting or dismissing students?

Does it make sense in the middle of summer to have lower speeds in a school zone when at that point the school is just an empty building on the side of the road?

No, it doesn’t. Yet the bill is gaining traction hot and heavy. And the tripling of the fine?

This sounds to me like a blatant attempt at creating a perfect new type of speed trap in the state of New Jersey. One o’clock in the morning, a cop hiding in a dark parking lot, and a car not slowing down from 40 to 25 while passing a completely empty school building with no children around whatsoever. That’s the scenario that many towns will use to fine you and fine you triple.

Fair? You tell us.

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