TRENTON – With the end of summer approaching, the Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) today announced the launch of enhanced enforcement efforts to combat impaired driving in New Jersey. Grant funding from HTS will be used to mobilize law enforcement agencies throughout the state to conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints and take alcohol and drug impaired drivers off our roadways.
The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which begins today and runs through September 4, is part of a nationwide effort to reduce crash risks and raise awareness about impaired driving during the final stretch of the summer season. To assist with New Jersey’s enforcement efforts, HTS has awarded $616,770 in grant funding to 99 police agencies across the state to fund enhanced patrols and high-visibility sobriety checkpoints during this busy and dangerous time.
“Driving under the influence is not only against the law, but it is also a blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of others,” said First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay V. Ruotolo. “Through the campaign announced today, we are providing funding to law enforcement agencies across the state to help keep impaired drivers off our roads. But we also need the help of all drivers to act responsibility and prioritize the safety of those around you. Be the reason someone gets home safe tonight.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent data, 13,384 individuals died in drunk-driving crashes in 2021, equivalent to one life lost every 39 minutes. Shockingly, an average of 11,000 fatalities occurred annually from 2017 to 2021 due to drunk driving.
“As drivers, we each hold a personal responsibility not only for our own safety but also for the safety of others and their families,” said Michael J. Rizol Jr., Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Before taking the wheel, pledge to yourself and your community that you will never drive while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any substances that can compromise your abilities. Each responsible choice contributes to fostering safer roads and safeguarding those dear to us.”
During the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign in 2022, law enforcement agencies were active in enforcing traffic laws: they made a total of 169 impaired driving arrests and issued 348 seatbelt tickets, 240 distracted driving tickets, and 804 speeding tickets. Additionally, they wrote 609 other summonses for hazardous moving violations.
Choosing to drive while impaired recklessly gambles with the safety of the driver, passengers, and members of the public. The repercussions for doing so are grave, and could include substantial fines of up to $10,000, and civil and criminal responsibility for injuries, crashes, and other damage to people or property.
In addition to supporting law enforcement to maintain safe roadways, HTS encourages individuals to have open and honest conversations with their families and friends about responsible drinking and the dangers of impaired driving. Raising awareness and promoting responsible behavior is the key to reducing the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities.
For more information on impaired driving, visit www.NJSafeRoads.com