Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) and Senator Nicholas Sacco (D-32) that would allow for lower speed limits near parks where children are likely to be playing was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.
The measure, S-2243, was introduced in response to the death of 11-year-old Drew Keough, who was tragically killed while crossing the street near Keansburg’s Forest Park on April 22, 2014.
“Drew’s Law is a reasonable measure that gives towns and counties the ability to keep kids safe by lowering speed limits around parks at times when they are most likely to be present,” said Kyrillos. “No family or community should have to go through the pain and suffering that Drew’s family and Keansburg have gone through these past few months. Drew’s Law will help ensure that more of these tragedies never happen.”
“We have to ensure that children playing at parks and other recreation areas are safe and creating a mechanism to slow motorists traveling in the vicinity is common sense. We recognize that communities across the state have diverse road conditions, so this will empower local governments to take action to reduce the speed limit where appropriate in order to improve public safety,” said Senator Sacco. “Drew’s family has suffered a tragic loss, but their passion and advocacy for this measure will go a long way to protect children and prevent additional tragedies from taking place.”
The bill allows the New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation to lower the speed limit to 15 miles per hour on roads in or adjacent to state parks, and allows counties and municipalities to adopt ordinances or resolutions to apply the 15 miles per hour speed limit on roads in or directly adjacent to a park, recreation facility or area, or playground that they own or control.
Under the bill, violators would face fines between $100 and $400, double the current amount.
“Our family has been devastated by this loss,” Drew’s uncle, Joseph W. Pezzano, a longtime Keansburg police officer, said in a statement on behalf of the family in support of the legislation. “Drew was a bright vibrant 11-year-old that made kids and adults feel better about themselves, on a daily basis. He was small in stature but larger than life. It is our families’ hope that Drew’s death will not have been in vain and it will serve as an opportunity to save future lives by the enactment of Drew’s Law.”