file photo by Boyd Looving
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, As New Jersey heads into the final weeks of summer, police departments across the state today kicked off the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” traffic safety campaign aimed at reducing crashes through the busy Labor Day weekend.
New Jersey’s campaign is part of a nationwide crackdown on impaired driving. To assist New Jersey’s enforcement efforts, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety has awarded grants totaling $505,500 to 98 law enforcement agencies statewide to fund enhanced patrols and high-visibility sobriety checkpoints throughout New Jersey during the 17-day enforcement campaign. And hundreds of additional agencies from across the state, from the northern border with New York in Sussex to the southernmost tip in Cape May, are also expected to participate in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative.
“This campaign is about making sure that impaired people don’t get behind the wheel in the first place,” said Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck. “But for those who do, be warned: if you drive drunk or high, we will hold you accountable. There’s simply no excuse for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially with the availability of ridesharing apps and public transportation across our state.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), drunk and drugged driving crashes claim the lives of more than 10,000 people nationwide each year, with those deaths occurring at a higher rate during the so-called “101 Days of Summer” that stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
In New Jersey, crash data shows a similar trend.
While impaired driving typically accounts for about 25-30 percent of all fatal crashes that occur in this state in any given year, crash data from recent years shows that percentage jumping to 40-45 percent during the 101 Days of Summer.
“The numbers don’t lie. Getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a terrible idea that can result in devastating tragedy,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “To ensure that Summer 2021 ends on a happy note for all, we urge everyone to celebrate responsibly and plan ahead for a safe transport home. If you drive intoxicated, you can count on being stopped and arrested.”
When social plans involve alcohol, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers the following suggestions:
Identify a designated driver for your group before you go out.
Do not let friends drive after drinking. Take their keys.
If you have been drinking, get a ride home from a friend who has not been drinking, call a taxi, or use a rideshare app.
If you host a party with alcohol, offer alcohol-free beverages and remind guests to designate a sober driver.
As a parent or caregiver, talk to your teens about the dangers of drinking and driving. Promise to pick them up, no questions asked, if they are impaired.
If you suspect an impaired driver on the road, pull over in a safe location, call the police, and provide the location, description, and direction the vehicle is headed.
For tips on getting home safely after you make the right decision to not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, go to www.nhtsa.gov/ways-get-home-safely.