PLAINSBORO — Three individuals were arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated at a sobriety checkpoint set up over the weekend as part of a program aimed at ensuring the safety of high school students during their prom and graduation celebrations, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Plainsboro Police Chief Richard Furda announced Monday.
Establishment of the sobriety checkpoint also resulted in the arrest of one individual on a charge of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and the arrest of another person who was wanted on an outstanding warrant.
In addition, 40 summonses were issued to motorists for a variety of offenses, such as failure to register their vehicles and driving with a suspended license.
The checkpoint was being operated from the evening of June 11 into the early morning hours of June 12 by members of the Plainsboro Police Department and members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Fatal Crash Investigations Unit. During that time, 77 motorists were stopped.
The program, now in its 25th year, aims to keep impaired motorists off the road during the prom and graduation season.
Kaplan noted that while there have been numerous arrests for impaired driving over the years, no students have been killed or injured in crashes, or arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated during the prom and graduation season.
The results show that students are getting the message that impaired driving is not only dangerous, but has serious consequences, Kaplan said.
‘’When our children drink and drive, they are at risk to kill or seriously injure themselves and others,’’ Kaplan said. ‘’Hopefully, this is all the motivation that we need to ensure that we, as parents, act responsibly when addressing the issue of alcohol use during the prom and graduation season,’’ he said.
‘’Keeping our children safe is of the utmost importance and I welcome any program that helps us do that,’’ said Freeholder Mildred S. Scott, chair of the County’s Law and Public Safety Committee. ‘’I thank the Prosecutor’s Office and all the members of the municipal police departments for their shared commitment to the safety of our young residents.’’
Police began setting up checkpoints on April 24, 2010, and, since then, have checked motorists in Dunellen, Old Bridge, Highland Park, Carteret, Plainsboro and South Brunswick.
During that time, more than 400 motorists have been stopped and given pamphlets advising them of the dangers of impaired driving.
First-time offenders run the risk of losing their driving privileges for at least seven months and face a variety of fines, insurance surcharges and legal fees that could total as much as $15,000.
The program, made possible through a $43,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway and Traffic Safety, will run through the end of June.
The Fatal Crash Investigations Unit and municipal police departments will continue to randomly station checkpoints around the county through the summer months to check for impaired drivers.
In 2009, there were 47 fatal crashes that resulted in 51 deaths in Middlesex County. Twenty nine percent of the crashes were alcohol-related, but none involved teenagers traveling to or from their proms or graduations.
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