More than 400 police agencies from across New Jersey are gearing up for the state's largest annual drunk driving crackdown.

The 2017 "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" statewide summer crackdown begins Aug. 18 and ends on Labor Day, Sept. 4.

Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety, says "it's part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high visibility enforcement." That enforcement is backed up by educational activities including advertisements, posters, banners and mobile video display signs.

He also adds the crackdown is designed to curtail impaired drivers during the busy Labor Day weekend. There's an end-of-the-year campaign around Christmas and New Year's as well.

During the campaign, Poedubicky says grants will be provided to 190 law enforcement agencies around the state to set up the patrols and sobriety checkpoints during the two weeks.

He says despite the years of enforcement and public awareness efforts, too many drivers still make the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel when they're impaired.

"So this particular campaign raises awareness and it's a zero-tolerance campaign," says Poedubicky. He says if a driver is caught operating a vehicle while impaired, he or she will be arrested and hopefully this increased awareness curtails the number of impaired drivers on the road so there are fewer fatalities related to alcohol.

About 20 percent of motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey are alcohol related. More than 1,600 summonses were handed out during last year's campaign and Poedubicky says it's a very expensive penalty. You will face a fine, insurance costs and possible license suspension.

He says to avoid getting pulled over during the crackdown, call a taxi if you plan to go out drinking. Take mass transit. Call a sober friend to come pick you up. If those options are not available, then stay over somewhere instead of getting behind the wheel of a car.

Your best defense against an impaired driver is to have your seat belt buckled in both the front and back seats.

If you see an impaired driver on the road, you can report it by dialing #77.


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