NJ drunken driving deaths decrease in 2012
New Jersey citizens are getting good news related to one of the night’s persistent dangers that is deaths caused by driving under the influence in New Year’s holidays.
The number of fatalities caused by DUI decreased statewide from 2011 to 2012 even as they rose nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported. According to the state police, only 2 deaths occurred in New Jersey in the Christmas holiday this year which is less as compared to the number of fatalities that occurred last year. 10 to 12 individuals died last year in Christmas holiday and nine of those were drug or alcohol related fatalities.
In 2012, a total of 10,322 individuals were killed in drunken driving-related accidents nationwide, the NHTSA reported and that number is more than the 9,865 killed in 2011. It is an increase of 4.6%. 164 drunken driving deaths occurred in 2012 in New Jersey, it is a reduction from the 193 reported in 2011.
AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Tracy Noble said in a statement, “These are sobering statistics. Get a designated driver if you’re going to be out celebrating on New Year’s Eve, or take a cab home. We are glad to hear the deaths attributed to drunk driving have gone down in New Jersey. However, we have more work to do to get that number to zero”.
New Year is actually not one of the worst holidays for fatalities related to DUI in the state, said State Police Lt. Stephen Jones. “It kind of has that reputation, but because it’s centered around midnight a lot of people make arrangements to sleep where they are or take public transportation”. According to him, the summer holidays, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day are actually the worst in terms of drunken driving fatalities. Last New Year’s from Friday to Wednesday, 4 driving-related deaths occurred in New Jersey from which 2 of them were pedestrians. Two of the deaths had drugs or alcohol involved. He said, “We hope to do better than that this year”. Jones said he was encouraged by the decrease in 2012, but it’s not enough. “We continue, along with all our local partners, to go out and patrol roads looking for drunk drivers and getting out the message loud and clear that this is not tolerated. There’s no second chance when it comes to drunk driving”, he added. The number of statewide drunken-driving deaths that happened in 2013 is not yet available.
Patrolman Steven Garrison of the Traffic Safety Unit in Galloway Township said that 137 drunken driving arrests have been made in the township in 2013 compared with 150 in 2012. In that, other agencies that work in the township, including Stockton campus police or State Police are not included. According to him, reason for the decrease was the reduction in the number of township officers available to patrol. While the number of fatal accidents in Galloway increased recently, none of this year’s fatal accident appeared to have involved alcohol.
The chairman of the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance, John Bieniakowski, said that his group, which is made up of traffic safety experts from law enforcement, education, fire, rescue, engineering and planning agencies in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties, has recently focused on the “more at-risk” segment of drivers from ages 17 to 25 years. Other than the danger they pose to themselves and others present on the roads, the group also cites the other potential effects: loss of education, loss of job, financial impacts from court punishments and rehabilitation, plus the time it takes to rehab physically and emotionally. Bieniakowski said, “We’re trying to work on some of the challenges on that level. We want to knock down the ‘rite of passage’ that some people believe happens at a certain age and show that something disastrous can happen”.
News Source: www.PressOfAtLanticCity.com