As the holiday season gets underway, Somerset County law enforcement officials will focus on drunk driving as part of the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

The big push will begin on Friday, December 5 and will run well through the holiday season and culminate on January 2, 2015. During this push, enforcement officials will conduct saturation periods and sobriety checkpoints to check for drunk drivers.

“This is a critical law enforcement program that can save lives during a time of the year when impaired driving traditionally increases by nearly 10%” said Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano. “This initiative brings attention to the serious consequences of drunk driving and the grave danger those who choose to drink and drive pose to all who share the road with them.”

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“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is a national campaign that was designed at its inception in 1999 to raise awareness about the danger associated with drinking and driving. The campaign looks to use “high-visibility enforcement and public education tools, including posters, banners and mobile video display signs.”

“More than 10,000 people are killed in the United States each year in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Drunk driving is reckless and preventable,” Soriano said. “During this campaign Somerset County municipal police agencies, along with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, will join law enforcement throughout New Jersey for the purpose of sending a clear message. If drivers are caught driving impaired, they will be arrested and prosecuted.”

According to the Somerset County's records, in 2013, alcohol-impaired fatalities were 22 percent New Jersey’s motor vehicle fatalities.

Chief William Parenti of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police offered the following advice:

  • If you plan to consume, alcohol beverages, designate a driver, someone who will not drink, 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.
  •  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 you to your doorstep.