NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – For the two weeks leading up to Labor Day, New Jersey police departments are stepping up enforcement of driving while intoxicated offenses as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over program.
Often people think these efforts are just public relations, but you can’t tell that to Philip Biondello of Gillette, who was reportedly weaving in and out of traffic Friday night after 11 p.m. He was stopped by North Plainfield Police Sergeant Edward Sinker on Watchung Avenue, where Biondello was arrested for driving while intoxicated and taken into custody. Biondello refused to take a breath test, and so added to the DWI chargers were a summons for Refusal.
North Plainfield and Green Brook both received a $5,000 grant this year to place additional cars on the road dedicated specifically to enforcing driving while intoxicated offenses. The increased patrols focus on main roads such as Mountain Avenue, Greenbrook Road and Route 22 looking solely for people under the influence. Normal patrol schedules are also kept, so every street continues to be covered for all offenses.
“We participate in this every year whether we are given a grant or not,” said North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti. “But we’re very glad to have been given the extra funds so this doesn’t fall on our taxpayers.”
The North Plainfield Borough Council on Aug. 18 passed a resolution of support for the effort focusing on the lives that can be saved through the extra enforcement. In 2012, 19 percent of traffic deaths were due to alcohol and other drugs, and that number rose to 22 percent in 2013.
The Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police, where Chief Parenti serves as Chair, offers the following advice via the Somerset County Prosecutor’s office:
- 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.