Police departments across the state Friday kicked off the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” traffic safety campaign aimed at reducing crashes through the busy Labor Day weekend.
“This campaign is about making sure that impaired people don’t get behind the wheel in the first place,” said Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck. “But for those who do, be warned: if you drive drunk or high, we will hold you accountable. There’s simply no excuse for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially with the availability of ridesharing apps and public transportation across our state.”
New Jersey’s campaign is part of a nationwide crackdown on impaired driving. Grants totaling $505,500 have been awarded to 98 law enforcement agencies in New Jersey to fund enhanced patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout the next 17 days.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, impaired driving crashes claim the lives of more than 10,000 people nationwide each year, with those deaths occurring at a higher rate between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
To date in New Jersey, there have been 358 fatal crashes, up 11% from 2021, and 375 fatalities from those crashes. Atlantic County so far has had 27 fatal crashes, the third highest in the state behind Camden County at 41 and Essex County at 32. Cape May County has had nine, and Cumberland County has had 14. Ocean County is tied for fifth most fatal crashes with Gloucester County at 24 each.
The most recent fatal crash report available from the New Jersey State Police from 2019 shows 28.7% of those who died consumed alcohol and of all the drivers involved in those fatal crashes, 11.6% were legally intoxicated.
“The numbers don’t lie. Getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a terrible idea that can result in devastating tragedy,” said Eric Heitmann, director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “To ensure that Summer 2021 ends on a happy note for all, we urge everyone to celebrate responsibly and plan ahead for a safe transport home. If you drive intoxicated, you can count on being stopped and arrested.”
For tips on getting home safely after you make the right decision to not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, visit nhtsa.gov/ways-get-home-safely.
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