Police & Fire

Sparta Area Police Conduct Drive Sober Campaign

DWI Accident earlier this year on Sparta Avenue Credits: Provided by Sparta Police Department
Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – Once again Sparta Police will be participating in the statewide campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over aimed at stopping drunk driving.  The Sparta Police have received grant money from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety to increased patrols.  They have also gotten grant from the Attorney General’s Office Drunk Driving Enforcement Funds “due to the enforcement numbers,” according to Sparta Lt. John Lamon.   

While to campaign focuses on drunk drivers, more officers will be on patrol, looking at all types of infractions. 

“We have some new officers in our department this year, so we are re-emphasizing the behaviors that warrant further scrutiny when looking for intoxicated motorists,” Lamon said.  Such behaviors include

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  • failing to maintain a travel lane,
  • drifting over the white or yellow lines,
  • driving without headlights on,
  • driving very slowly,
  • obstructing the travel of other motorists,
  • breaking suddenly or excessively for no known reason,
  • tailgating,
  • running red lights and stop signs

“We are also encouraging more moving patrols, in lieu of stationary patrols, to be able to observe multiple vehicles traveling on the roads,” Lamon said.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety had issued recommendations to people out drinking, to avoid drunk driving.  They suggest designating a driver who is not drinking, calling a friend or family member for a ride and using a taxi or mass transit.  They also recommend calling someone over making the decision to walk or spending the night where the activity is held. 

They also remind people to “always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle.  It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.”

With the lack of mass transit options in Sussex County Lamon recommended some local resources that are available to drive people home, who should not get behind the wheel.  Lamon said taxi and car services available in Sussex County include, but are not limited to:

Anytime Taxi in Franklin,

 

D.A.D.S Taxi in Augusta,

Newton Taxi Champion,

A+ Taxi in Vernon,

Be My Driver designated driver services

Quick’s Limo and Taxi in Sussex

My Magic Bus in Sparta.

“We’ve also helped out local residents, who have waved us down in White Deer Plaza to say they were too drunk to drive by arranging a ride for the m or transporting them if no other transportation was available,” Lamon said.  “We are more concerned for the intoxicated driver’s safety and the safety of other pedestrians and motorists than arresting them for DWI.”

“Despite years of enforcement and public awareness efforts, too many people still make the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel while impaired. Nearly 30 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey are alcohol related,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “This is a zero-tolerance campaign. If drivers are caught operating their vehicle while impaired they will be arrested,” he added.  

According to Sparta Police in 2016 the Driver Sober campaign ran from August 19 to September 5.  During that time there were summonses issued for:

  • two DWI’s,
  • 12 seatbelt,
  • 43 speeding,
  • six child restraint,
  • one reckless driving,
  • 21 careless driving,
  • 21 suspended drivers,
  • 145 other violations as well as
  • six other arrests.

A second Drive Sober campaign runs during the winter holiday season from the beginning of December through early January. 

According to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, during last year’s crackdown, “participating agencies made 1,649 DWI arrests.”

“For the month of July through August 14 we already have seven DWI arrests for alcohol and one DWI for drugs,” Lamon said.

The Franklin Borough Police Department is also participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaing

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