You’d Better Watch Out: NJ Cops Crack Down on Drunk Drivers During Holidays

c05403b5a0eac4e74c22_municipal_2.jpg
Westfield is one of the towns that has hired extra police to patrol the streets for drunk drivers during the holiday season. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
c05403b5a0eac4e74c22_municipal_2.jpg

WESTFIELD, NJ - Drink all you want at your next holiday party—just don’t plan to drive home if you want to avoid losing your license or paying a high fine. New Jersey cops are especially on the lookout for intoxicated drivers from now until Jan. 2, and no one is getting off with just a warning.

This is the message of New Jersey’s Division of Traffic and Public Safety’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. This time of year, New Jersey police utilize additional sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and even undercover officers to keep a keen eye out for anyone who attempts to drive under the influence.

Using a $5,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Safety, the Westfield Police Department hired extra cops to patrol the streets for intoxicated drivers from Dec. 5 until Jan. 2, according to Chief of Police John Parizeau. This grant has been awarded to Westfield several years in a row and allows the department to add an additional 100 man hours dedicated solely to catching drunk drivers.

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield police have caught drunk drivers from all over. “A lot of our arrests over the years weren’t just Westfield people. It’s people driving through Westfield,” explained Parizeau.

Although not every New Jersey police department received a grant, you can bet they are paying special attention this month. “We take drunk driving very seriously, of course, and we’re very vigilant during the holidays,” said Millburn Police Lieutenant Peter Eakley. He would rather not catch anyone in the act, he said. “We’d rather people don’t do it.”

If caught driving while impaired, said Eakley, “You’re going to be arrested. You’re going to police headquarters.” If your blood alcohol level is still over the legal limit and no one can pick you up, you could even spend the night in jail. It’s not the end to a festive evening that one would hope for.

“I’m glad they’re cracking down on it,” said Millburn resident Susan Golinski. “I don’t like to go out at night during the holidays because I’m afraid of drunk drivers.”

Even after the New Year, Golinski worries about people driving under the influence, especially on weekends. “I think they should do this year round, not just during the holidays,” she said of the crackdown.

According to New Jersey’s Department of Law and Public Safety, someone in America is killed by an impaired driver every 30 seconds—almost 50 people each day. That number increases during the holidays.

Parizeau hopes that the additional risk of getting caught will discourage people from getting behind the wheel when they’ve had one too many. “Losing your license can affect your job and your family. It’s not worth it,” he said.

To avoid needlessly breaking the law and endangering lives, the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers these suggestions:

  • Don't risk it. If you plan to drive, don't drink.
  • Choose a sober designated driver before partying.
  • Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home if you didn't plan in advance.
  • Spend the night where the activity is being held.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Free Living History Event Showcases World War I Centennial

April 19, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to experience battlefield life as a World War I American Salvation Army volunteer, featuring Ms. Laurie MacDonald-Gaulke, actress and storyteller, in a special free presentation of “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in France.”

Doughnuts for Doughboys takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at ...

Softball: Justina Benvenuto Named Union Catholic's Girls Conference Athlete of Week

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- After bursting on the scene with a fabulous freshman softball season at Union Catholic last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding Justina Benvenuto as she entered her sophomore season.

Benvenuto has more than lived up to all the lofty expectations, both on the mound and at the plate as she has sparked the Vikings to a 6-1 record this spring.

Benvenuto has been ...

Lunch & Learn: 'Israel at 70: Its Meaning and Value in Jewish Identity' with Professor Kenneth W. Stein Apr. 22

SUMMIT, NJ - For four decades, Kenneth W. Stein has taught Middle Eastern History and Political Science at Emory University. His scholarship focuses on the politics of the modern Arab world, American foreign policy toward the Middle East, modern Israel, and the Arab-Israeli negotiating process. Stein earned awards at Emory for excellence in teaching and life-long mentorship of ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Chatham Township Committee Unanimously Adopts Ordinance to Ban Marijuana Retail Sales; Cannabis Advocates Disagree

April 13, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter began the new year by pledging to oppose Gov. Phil Murphy's plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and Thursday night he followed through by voting to adopt an ordinance that prohibits "marijuana cultivation, production testing, manufacturing facilities and retail stores' in the township.

The Chatham Township Committee ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 19, 10:00 AM

American Legion Post 433, New Providence

Summit College Club Book Donations

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Thu, April 19, 10:00 AM

American Legion Post 433, New Providence

Summit College Club Book Donations

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Thu, April 19, 10:00 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Thursday Morning Book Group @NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Think globally, act locally: What you can do to ...

Education Green

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison

METC hosting Travelers and Taverns: An Evening ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

summit free public library, summit

Celebrate Earth Day at Summit Public Library

Education Green Other

Getting Real About Retirement – Will You Have Enough Money to Remain Comfortable?

Let’s get real about retirement. Will you have enough to remain comfortable in retirement for 30 years or more?  Studies show this is a recurring fear many Americans have - and for good reason. Many Americans are completely unprepared to fund a comfortable retirement, and remain naive about the actual costs involved.  As a Fee-Only financial advisor, my number one priority is ...