SOMERVILLE, NJ - In anticipation of increased car travel during and after the Fourth of July, Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano is stressing the importance of safe and sober driving.

“I want to remind drivers that law enforcement will be out in full force to thwart impaired driving crashes throughout the summer,” he said, adding he will have extra officers patrolling Route 22 and its surrounding areas.

Provenzano has garnered community businesses’ help in promoting the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers aimed at encouraging safe and sober driving during the coming holiday.

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HERO Campaign brochures and magnets are being handed out at Verve, Alfonso's, Café Picasso and Calabria Mia restaurants in Somerville, at Uncle Vinnie's Clam Bar and Spain 92 in Raritan, and at Willie McBride’s in Branchburg. They also will be available at the Lexus, Audi, Open Road VW, Open Road Mercedes Benz and BMW car dealerships in Bridgewater, and at Green Brook Buick GMC.

“The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office is continuously promoting designated driving in an effort to keep impaired drivers off the road,” Sheriff Provenzano said. “With great support coming from these local eating and drinking establishments and car dealerships, we are hopeful the message will be taken to heart.”

Bill and Muriel Elliott started the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers in memory of their son, U.S. Navy Ensign John R. Elliott, who was killed in a collision with a drunk driver in July 2000.  While at the U.S. Naval Academy, Ensign Elliott was selected as a Human Education Resource Officer (HERO) to counsel and mentor other members of his company and was named “the outstanding HERO” of his graduating class. He was killed two months after graduating from the academy.

“Be a hero, be a designated driver if you want to make your community safer on this Fourth of July holiday week and throughout the year,” Provenzano said. “We are not asking citizens to stop having fun and drinking. We are just reminding them to consume responsibly. We want to keep people from making a poor choice that could harm others and themselves.”

For more information about the HERO Campaign, visit www.herocampaign.org or contact Sheriff’s Officer Joshua Manzo at (908) 231-7140, ext. 9, or Sgt. Chris Ouellette at (908) 231-7526.