Holiday Drunk Driving Crackdown Underway in New Jersey
As a part of a drunk driving enforcement campaign “Drive Sober, Or Get Pulled Over”, Law enforcement officials will force drunk drivers to follow the rules and regulations in the annual holiday season.
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety has announced that this week, approximately 400 law enforcement agencies working statewide will be looking for drunk drivers at sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.
The crackdowns started on 7th of December and will run till 2nd January. According to an estimate, a grant of approximately $400,000 will be given by the Division and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) to the law enforcement agencies that are participating in the campaign. There are a total of 95 agencies participating in the crackdowns.
Every year, the most dangerous time on the roads is the holiday season. According to a report, in December 2010, 30% of all the deaths in motor vehicle road accidents occurred due to drunk drivers. Records show that from all the accidents, 71% of accidents happened because the blood alcohol concentration limit of the drunk driver was approximately double the legal limit.
Acting Director Gary Poedubick of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety said, “Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities, and we want everyone to be safe on our roadways, that’s why we will be stepping up enforcement to catch and arrest impaired drivers. If you are caught drinking and driving impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.” He also added, “No one ever thinks that their holiday celebration will end in jail, or worse, in a hospital or the morgue, but for those who include alcohol in their celebrations and then get behind the wheel, this is often the case.”
In 2011, 152 deaths were recorded due to impaired driving, amounting to 24% of all the motor vehicle accident deaths. The total number of deaths was 627.
The holiday crackdowns resulted in the arresting and locking up of 1,877 drunk drivers in winter 2011. The participating police agencies also helped a lot in enforcing the laws. 8,345 speeding summonses and 4,420 seat belt summonses were issued by the participating police agencies. The number of drivers that ran away from the scene and were arrested during the mobilization was 2,000.
Poedubicky said, “This is a comprehensive program… police officers are looking for speeders, those who are talking or using hand-held cell phones, not wearing seat belts, but the primary focus is cracking down on impaired drivers, whether it’s for alcohol or drugs”. He also said, “We want everyone to have a safe, happy and enjoyable holiday and stay alive on our roadways”.
For those who like to drink alcohol in the holiday season, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety has given advice to make travelling safe in the holiday season.
After drinking don’t drive, ask your friends to take you home or go home by mass transit or taxi. Spend the night rather than get behind the wheel.
Report to law enforcement, if there is anyone on the road driving while intoxicated. For reporting, call on #77 in New Jersey.
Always wear seat belts when you are on a ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle. It is the best way to stay safe.
If you are drunk and going home on foot, then the safest way of going home is to ask your family member or a friend to take you home on his/her vehicle.