|TRENTON – The Division of Highway Traffic Safety today announced grants totaling $686,400 that will be used by local law enforcement agencies to crackdown on drunk and impaired drivers as part of the national initiative, “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over.”
The coordinated, statewide effort will run from August 16 to September 2 and 156 law enforcement agencies received grants of $4,400 to staff saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints. In total, more than 400 agencies are expected to participate in “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over.”
“We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel drunk is a terrible idea,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do chose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”
Poedubicky said State and local law enforcement officials expect a high volume of travelers during the Labor Day weekend (August 30 – September 2), which not coincidentally falls at the end of the drunk driving enforcement campaign.
During the Labor Day weekend in 2011, a total of 138 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with BACs of .08 or higher. Of those fatalities, 83 percent occurred during early evening and overnight, from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. Drunk driving takes a particularly heavy toll among young drivers. Among 18- to 34-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 42 percent were alcohol-impaired.
“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make New Jersey’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period,” Poedubicky said.
Penalties for a first DWI arrest can include fines of up to $500, 30 days in jail, one-year driver’s license suspension and court costs. Successive DWI arrests carry stiffer penalties.
During last year’s crackdown, law enforcement made 1,459 DWI arrests statewide. They also issued citations for speeding (6,550), seatbelt violations (4,258), driving with a suspended license (3,193) and reckless driving (947). Nearly 2,000 fugitives were apprehended during the crackdowns.
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers the following advice to ensure a safe summer travel season for those who choose to drink alcohol this summer:
- Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
- Spend the night rather than get behind the wheel.
- Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
- Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle. It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
- If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive or escort you to your doorstep.
A list of all law enforcement agencies receiving a mobilization grant is available at the Division’s web site at, www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/DSOGPO_08-2013_Grant_Recipients.pdf.