Officers from and police departments will ramp up drunken driving patrols beginning this weekend as part of the summer 2012 "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety announced.
Municipalities throughout the state, including eight from Ocean County, received $4,400 from the state to fund overtime patrols from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3, according to the division. During that time, police will set up sobriety checkpoints and patrol roadways for potentially drunk drivers.
"Many people believe that after a few drinks they’re still safe to drive," Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, said in a statement. "Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time, putting not only yourself, but everyone on the road, in danger."
Alcohol-impaired fatalities made up 20 percent of motor vehicle deaths in New Jersey in 2010, according to the the division.
The nationwide program, which employs "high-visibility enforcement and public education tools," was launched in 1999 as a way to curb drunken driving during a busy travel time that includes Labor Day, according to the division.
During last year's crackdown, a report detailing police activity during the Aug. 19 through Sept. 5 initiative showed that Lakehurst police issued seven driving while intoxicated charges and Manchester officers charged six with the offense.
The following tips for staying safe while traveling are offered by law enforcement:
- If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, 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.