Starting today, law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey are stepping up traffic patrols and conducting sobriety checkpoints statewide as part of its "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" holiday campaign which runs through New Year's Day.

There has been an increase in fatal crashes in the last two years so New Jersey is being extra vigilant to remind drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving, Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Eric Heitmann said.

"Historically, in New Jersey about a quarter of our annual statewide fatal traffic crashes involve impaired drivers. In 2019, that was 129 preventable tragedies," said Heitmann.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crashes involving drunk drivers accounted for a third of all fatal traffic crashes nationwide in 2019. Those cost the lives of more than 10,000 people.

Heitmann said most drunk driving fatalities commonly occur during the Christmas and New Year's holidays, more than any other holiday period throughout the year. That's why starting Friday, Dec. 3, law enforcement throughout New Jersey will begin stepping up traffic patrols and conducting sobriety checkpoints as part of the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.

"Driving drunk after using any kind of drugs that are known to impair your ability to drive, especially during the holidays, is selfish and could have deadly consequences. So we're giving everyone fair warning that if you do that, there's a really good chance you're going to be pulled over and arrested," said Heitmann.

A first offense, if an offender's blood alcohol content is .08% or higher but less than .10%, or if an offender permits another person with a BAC over .08% or less than .10% to operate a motor vehicle, the penalties are a fine of $250 to $400, up to 30 days in prison, a three-month license suspension, a minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an intoxicated resource center and $1,000 a year surcharge for three years.

Last year, the holiday campaign resulted in 590 DUI arrests, 3,121 speeding summonses and 817 summonses for failure to wear seat belts.

This year, the Division has provided 106 law enforcement agencies throughout the state with grants totaling $632,520 that ay for additional patrols and sobriety checkpoints during this month-long effort.

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety has been supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's impaired driving mobilization since 2004, under different campaign names, such as "U Drink U Drive U Lose" and "Over the Limit/Under Arrest."

The current campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," started in 2011.

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