PUBLIC SAFETY: As we head into the turn toward Labor Day, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns are ramping up, accelerated by grants from the state.
It starts this Friday and continues through Sept. 2, as more than 150 police agencies in New Jersey — 20 of them in Bergen County alone — plan for the crackdown (No, we’re not identifying which agencies).
If you don’t think they’re serious, check out last year’s NJ numbers:
1,459 DWI arrests;
6,550 speeding tickets;
4,258 seatbelt violations;
3,193 suspended licenses;
947 reckless driving charges;
(and a bonus:) 2,000 fugitives caught
Each agency is getting roughtly $4,400 from the Division of Highway Traffic Safety for DWI roadblocks and “saturation” patrols.
“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,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “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.”
During the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 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% occurred during early evening and overnight, from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.
- A PUBLISHER WRITES: “Do not take Rte 46 west heading to Ptown,” a Saturday night Facebook post warned Paterson-area motorists. “There is a check point for each and every car and single lane only! Take 80!” Here’s my question: Why can’t we prosecute these people for those “warnings”? READ MORE….
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% 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,” Poedubicky said.
Penalties for a first DWI arrest can include fines of up to $500 — along with 30 days in jail, a one-year driver’s license suspension and court costs.
The penalties get harsher with successive DWI arrests.
- 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.
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