TRENTON, NJ – The Division of Highway Traffic Safety is awarding more than $540,000 to local law enforcement agencies to crack down on drunk and impaired drivers as part of the national initiative, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement backed up by educational activities including national radio and television advertisements, posters, banners, and mobile video display signs. The campaign looks to curtail impaired driving during the busy summer travel season, including the Labor Day holiday period.
Morristown and the Morris County Park Police are two of eight police departments that will each receive a $5,500 grant. The other departments include Chester Township, Hanover, Jefferson, Parsippany Troy Hills, Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township.
One hundred and ten law enforcement agencies across New Jersey will use the grants to staff saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs from Aug.16-Sept. 3. More than 300 additional agencies, including the New Jersey State Police, are expected to join the annual statewide traffic safety effort aimed at reducing highway crashes.
“The risks of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are enormous and the consequences are tragic,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “With rideshare apps and other forms of public transportation readily available, there’s no excuse for anyone to get behind the wheel impaired.”
In 2017, driving while intoxicated - either under the influence of alcohol or drugs - was listed as the major contributing factor in more than 25% of the 591 fatal crashes that occurred on New Jersey roads that year. Those 158 alcohol/drug-related crashes killed 174 people.
During a five-year period between 2013 and 2017, 678 individuals were killed in alcohol-related crashes in the state.
“Impaired driving remains one of the biggest traffic safety threats in New Jersey and combatting it is a year-round priority in our state,” said Eric Heitmann, director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “As we head into the final weeks of summer and the busy Labor Day driving weekend, our officers will be stepping up those efforts, working longer hours and increasing sobriety checks to keep intoxicated drivers off the road. If you’re out there driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the odds are we’re going to stop you and arrest you.”
Last year, law enforcement agencies statewide dedicated an estimated 6,200 total enforcement hours to the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, including 20 fixed sobriety checkpoints. During the 3-week initiative, more than 1,196 impaired driving arrests were made and an additional 4,764 speeding summonses and 3,194 seat belt citations were written.
Law enforcement agencies participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2019 crackdown offer the following advice:
- If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, before going out.
- Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
- Spend the night where the activity is held.
- 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 you to your doorstep