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NJ Steps Up Road Patrols

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety is awarding more than $600,000 to law enforcement to crack down on impaired drivers during the holiday season.

Drunk Driving
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

For about the next month or so, more than 400 law enforcement agencies will be patrolling the state’s roads looking for drunk and impaired drivers as part of the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign, which starts on Friday and runs to Jan 2, 2014.

“During the holiday season, law enforcement officials always see a jump in the number of drunk and impaired drivers,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “Police will be targeting those drivers and once again this effort will send the message that if you chose to drink and drive, you will be arrested every time, no exception.”

In the Garden state, a person is guilty of drunk driving if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. Although the law refers to a 0.08 percent BAC, you can be convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor even when your BAC is below 0.08 percent.

Poedubicky pointed out consuming even small amounts of alcohol dulls the senses, decreases reaction time and hampers judgment, vision and alertness. If you consume any amount of alcohol and your driving is negatively impacted, you can be convicted of drunk driving.

The penalties for a first DWI arrest include fines of up to $500 and a one-year driver’s license suspension. Violators can also expect auto insurance surcharges of several thousand dollars.

In 2012, there were 158 fatalities directly attributed to impaired driving in New Jersey, accounting for 27 percent of the 589 total crash fatalities.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers the following advice to ensure a safe holiday travel season for those who choose to drink alcohol:

  • Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Spend the night rather than get behind the wheel.
  • 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 or escort you to your doorstep.

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