|TRENTON – The Division of Highway Traffic Safety today announced grants totaling $910,000 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 today through September 7 and 182 law enforcement agencies received grants of $5,000 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. “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 (September 4-7), which not coincidentally falls at the end of the drunk driving enforcement campaign.
Nationwide last year, 38 percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher), amounting to 161 lives lost. More than a quarter (27%) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher—almost twice the illegal limit.
“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 end-of-summer crackdown, law enforcement made 1,284 DWI arrests statewide. They also issued citations for speeding (5,459), seatbelt violations (4,827), driving with a suspended license (3,960) and reckless driving (883).
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.