Legislation introduced last year by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) in response to the death of Antwan Timbers Jr., a Burlington City High School student killed while walking on Route 130 near the school last year, was advanced by the Senate Transportation Committee.
“I’m very pleased that we are getting the ball rolling on these measures, but this is just the first step,” Senator Allen said. “Tragedies like Antwan’s death can be prevented if we can implement some common-sense safety precautions to keep pedestrians safe.”
— Senator Diane Allen (@dianeallennj) January 9, 2017
The legislation, S-2755 — now known as “Antwan’s Law” — allows counties and municipalities to establish a reduced speed limit on roads adjacent to a school, which will be in effect at all times. If the road near the school is a state road, towns can petition the Department of Transportation for a speed limit change by adopting a resolution or ordinance.
Allen announced the bill at a visit to Burlington City High School in October. There, she met with students who started the 25 Saves Lives movement calling for increased safety on roads near New Jersey’s schools, including full-day reduction to the speed limit on Route 130 where Antwan was killed in May 2016. Many of those same students attended the committee meeting to show their support. Several students even offered testimony to the panel.
The students acknowledged the importance of the legislation advanced on Monday because they’ve seen firsthand how dangerous the roads near their school can be.
“On May 22, 2016, our community suffered a tragic loss of not only my fellow cadet, but our close friend,” said Burlington City High School Student and JROTC member Jessica Lamont. “Our goal is to reduce the speed limit to 25-miles per hour all day, everyday… Our school motto this year is ‘building our legacy,’ and this is what we want our legacy to be.”
As one of the most dangerous roads in the country, Route 130 in Burlington County has been the site of many fatal crashes involving pedestrians over the years. A recent study by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign found it to be the most dangerous road for walking in New Jersey, with 11 pedestrians killed on the road between 2012 and 2014.
“The passion and commitment that these students show is truly inspiring to me, and I’m excited to include them in the legislative process,” Senator Allen said. “We need to make sure children walking near our schools are safe. I’ll continue to stand with these students until our mission is complete.”
Allen’s “Antwan’s Law” package includes two other bills that focus on making roads near New Jersey’s schools safer for students. The first, S-2754, would mandate that the state create a full-day, 25 mile-per-hour speed limit on Route 130 near Burlington City High School and Wilbur Watts Intermediate School. The other, S-2753, raises penalties for drivers who speed in school zones along highways like Route 130.