N.J. governor's seat-belt warning for Memorial Day weekend: 'I should be dead'
Friday, May 25, 2007
TRENTON, N.J. -- "I'm New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, and I should be dead."
So begins Corzine's public service announcement promoting seat belt use, which was released Thursday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. The governor was critically injured in an April 12 car crash in which he wasn't wearing a seat belt.
Corzine worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the message, taping it May 15 at the governor's mansion in Princeton, where he is recuperating. Video and audio versions were released to radio and television outlets nationwide.
In the ad, the 60-year-old Corzine details his injuries as video plays of the wrecked sport utility vehicle he was riding in. He broke his leg, 11 ribs, collar bone and sternum in the crash and spent 18 days in the hospital.
He notes how he lost more than half his blood, spent eight days in intensive care and had to use a ventilator.
"It took a remarkable team of doctors and a series of miracles to save my life when all I needed was a seat belt," Corzine says.
He then advises, "I have to live with my mistake. You don't. Buckle up." The last moments of the ad then show him walking off camera on his crutches.
Corzine apologized and voluntarily paid a $46 fine for violating state law by failing to buckle up as he rode in the front seat of his SUV, which was driven by a state trooper.
It crashed after it was clipped by a pickup truck on the Garden State Parkway. The SUV was going 91 mph in a 65 mph zone.
The release of the public service announcement comes during the annual "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement campaign by law enforcement agencies across the country.
AAA says using a seat belt reduces the risk of death by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent for front seat passengers. David Weinstein, the organization's mid-Atlantic spokesman, predicted the Corzine ad would save lives, calling it "extraordinarily powerful."
Corzine, former CEO of the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and then won the governor's office in 2005.