Motorists Reminded to Stay Safe and Sober During Big Football Weekend

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TRENTON – With the big game just days away, highway traffic safety and law enforcement officials are reminding motorists of the life-saving importance of staying safe and sober on the roadways during this upcoming weekend.

“No one should get behind the wheel after drinking any amount of alcohol,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky.  “Choosing to drink and drive can be a devastating, life-changing decision that will impact not only the rest of your life, but your friends, family and co-workers.  To avoid a tragedy, have a plan in place to get home safely after the Super Bowl, and stick with that plan.  Not only will you protect yourself, you’ll help ensure the safety of everyone else sharing the roads with you.”

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In 2009, 189 people were killed as a result of 179 alcohol-related crashes in New Jersey. That number represents 32 percent of the 584 traffic fatalities reported in the state for that year.   Nationally, 10,839 individuals were killed in highway crashes involving drunk driving during the same time period.

“In football, teams get a second chance if they make mistakes in the first half, but when it comes to driving while intoxicated there are no second chances. If you are caught driving drunk, you will be arrested,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the State Police.  “If alcohol factors into your plans, designate a non-drinking driver to get your party home safely,” he added.

For individuals planning on attending a big game party:

  • Designate a sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.  Motorists are asked throughout the year to subscribe to the pledge of the HERO Campaign: drive sober, be a designated driver and don’t let your friends drive drunk.  Under the effort, local businesses and community groups, law enforcement agencies, and schools work together to keep drunk drivers off the road. Started in New Jersey by the Elliott family following the tragic death of their son, John, in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, the campaign has become a national model for preventing drunk driving.
  • Consider using a taxi cab or car service, or ask a sober family member or friend to come and get you, or spend the night where you are.
  • Report impaired drivers in New Jersey by dialing #77.  You’ll be asked to provide the location and a brief description of the vehicle.
  • Buckle-up, everyone, 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.

For individuals hosting a big game party:

  • Make sure there’s ample food and non-alcoholic beverages available.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the beginning of the third quarter of the game.  Instead, offer guests coffee and dessert.
  • Be sure that all guests have designated their drivers in advance, or help to arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
  • Have the phone number of a local cab company available, and always take the keys away from anyone who may be thinking of driving after drinking.

Additional information on drunk driving enforcement, as well as general traffic safety information, is available on the Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s web site, at www.njsaferoads.com.


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