TRENTON, NJ — With the busy holiday travel season fast approaching, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety has announced the kickoff of a statewide traffic safety campaign targeting drunken and impaired drivers.
Starting Dec. 6, law enforcement agencies across the state will be patrolling the New Jersey roads looking for drunken and impaired drivers as part of the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign, which runs through Jan. 1.
New Jersey’s crackdown on impaired driving is part of a nationwide effort to reduce crash risks during the heavily traveled holiday season. To assist with New Jersey’s enforcement efforts, the division has provided 133 agencies with grants totaling $596,660 that pay for saturation patrols and high-visibility sobriety checkpoints throughout the state.
“The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends but if your celebration includes alcohol, leave the driving to someone else — a sober friend, a ride share or public transportation,” Attorney Gen. Gurbir Grewal said. “Being a responsible driver is one of the simplest ways to ensure a safe and happy holiday season for everyone. Our ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign is aimed at raising public awareness and saving lives.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 10,511 people were killed nationwide in drunken-driving crashes last year, a figure that represents nearly 30 percent of all fatalities recorded for that year. In New Jersey alone, 125 lives were lost in drunken-driving crashes in 2018 — more than 20 percent of all traffic fatalities recorded.
According to the NHTSA report, last December 839 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunken driver, and there were more drunken-driving-related fatalities during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018 alone than during any other holiday period that year.
“These fatalities are preventable, and people must remember that driving under the influence of any substance, be it drugs or alcohol, is deadly, illegal and selfish behavior,” said Eric Heitmann, director of the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “To promote traffic safety this holiday season, law enforcement officers will be out in force looking for impaired drivers. If you drive under the influence during the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ mobilization, you can count on being stopped and arrested.”
Last year, more than 76 percent of New Jersey’s police agencies participated in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign. The 2018 enforcement effort resulted in 1,269 DWI arrests for alcohol and/or drugs statewide; and participating police agencies issued 5,704 and 3,125 speeding and seat belt summonses, respectively. A number of departments reported noteworthy accomplishments, including 15 agencies making 14 or more DWI arrests during the campaign.