SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Sheriff's office and police departments throughout New Jersey, including Hillsborough, will be on the roads looking for drunk drivers on Super Bowl Sunday.

“With help from the community, we are working together to promote the ‘John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers’ aimed at encouraging safe and sober driving during the Super Bowl game,” said Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano.

The Sheriff's DWI Enforcement Patrol will be part of the overall Somerset County effort.

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The Hillsborough Police department is one of more than a dozen in Somerset County that will receive funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to increase DWI patrols on Sunday, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

As part of the campaign, Verve Restaurant, Bar & Bistro in Somerville, Big Heads Pub in Hillsborough, as well Bridgewater Lexus, Bridgewater BMW, Open Road Volkswagen and Open Road Mercedes Auto Group have agreed to promote the HERO Campaign to its patrons,handing out campaign brochures and magnets.   

“Many people will be attending parties with their friends at private residences or going to local bars or restaurants to watch the Super Bowl,” Provenzano said. “If you plan to drink alcohol, make sure you have a good plan to ensure a safe return trip. That starts with designating a driver who will not be drinking,” he said. “By planning ahead, you can protect yourself, your family, friends and other drivers from tragic loss of life on the road.”

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving is a serious problem with severe consequences.  “You don’t want to become a Super Bowl statistic,” said Sheriff Provenzano.”

· In 2014 there were 9,967 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, 31 percent of all crash fatalities;

- An average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 53 minutes in 2014;

- Drunk drivers face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates and dozens of other unanticipated expenses, ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs and lost wages due to time off from work.;
- The average DUI case costs approximately $10,000.

Refusing to take a breath test in many jurisdictions results in immediate arrest, the loss of driver’s license on the spot and impoundment of the vehicle. 

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. Ensign Elliott was killed two months after graduating from the academy.

Multiple New Jersey agencies will promote the campaign and its message, “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver,” through highway digital message boards, posters in participating bars and restaurants and thousands of car-window decals distributed as part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

“Impaired driving is completely preventable. All it takes is a little planning,” Provenzano said. “We want the public to remember that it’s a choice. Drink responsibly or drive sober—these are good choices. We want to keep people from making a poor choice that harms others and themselves,” he added.

For more information about the HERO Campaign, go towww.herocampaign.org or contact Sheriff’s Officer Nick Fazio at 908-231-7140 ext. 9 or Fazio@co.somerset.nj.us or Lt. Steve San Antonio 908-231-7168 or SanAntonio@co.somerset.nj.us