Somerville, N.J. – The Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for many Americans.  Families and friends gather to celebrate the birth of our nation with picnics, parades, and fireworks displays. For some, the celebration of Independence Day includes the consumption of alcohol, and the holiday can quickly go from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking.

This July 4th weekend, law enforcement officers throughout Somerset County will be aggressively seeking out those who choose to violate our drinking and driving laws. “All of our municipal and county agencies in Somerset County are collectively focusing enforcement actions to make roads safer this Fourth of July,” said Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano “If someone chooses to drink and then drive while over the legal limit, there is a very high likelihood that he or she will be stopped, arrested and charged.” The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign has a zero tolerance policy for drunk driving, and our officers understand this very well.”

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that in the year 2012, 10,322 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States in 2012—representing a third of all crash fatalities. Additional data shows that the Fourth of July holiday period is especially deadly. During the July 4th period in 2012 (6 p.m. on July 3 to 5:59 a.m. on July 5), there were 179 people killed in crashes, and 44 percent of those crashes were alcohol-impaired.

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“This Fourth of July holiday, you can show your patriotism by helping to make Somerset County roads safer for everyone,” said Chief William Parenti of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police. “Remember,” he warned, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. It’s that simple. If you’re caught driving drunk, you will be arrested. Further, keep in mind that aside from putting your own life and the lives of others at risk, driving impaired can also lead to serious consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs about $10,000”.

Prosecutor Soriano and Chief Parenti recommend these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:

  • Plan a safe means of getting home before the fun begins;
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact 9-1-1
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take his/her keys and help that person make other arrangements to get to where he/she is going safely.