TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow, joined by members of the New Jersey traffic safety, law enforcement and substance abuse prevention communities, today honored those individuals who have lost their lives as a result of an impaired driver.
During an emotional remembrance at the War Memorial Building in Trenton, families who have lost loved ones to a drunk or drugged driver participated in a processional, where they were escorted by local police officers and State Troopers. Representing the nearly 13,000 lives lost each year nationwide to impaired driving, the families displayed photos of their loved ones and lit candles to commemorate their lives.
“Through commemorative events such as this one, we can let all New Jerseyans know what the real consequences are when someone chooses to drive impaired,” Dow said. “Today, we’re reinforcing the message that one careless, thoughtless decision is all it takes to have a devastating, life-long impact on countless lives.
“Both law enforcement and public education play a critical role in combating impaired driving,” the attorney general explained. “Law enforcement has worked tirelessly, whether it is through efforts such as Over the Limit Under Arrest, county and multi-jurisdictional task forces, Drug Recognition Experts, saturation patrols and checkpoints, to combat drunk and drugged driving.”
Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky noted that the remembrance, which was modeled after a similar event held annually in Maryland, will help to enhance public awareness of this critical traffic safety issue.
“Impaired driving touches every one of us, and it is a tragedy that is preventable,” Poedubicky said. “By staying safe and sober behind the wheel, we can stop this senseless loss of life and ensure that all New Jerseyans stay safe on our roadways.”
In 2009 in New Jersey, 187 people were killed as a result of alcohol-related crashes. That number represents 32 percent of the 584 traffic fatalities reported in the state that year.
Also speaking at today’s tribute were State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes and Bill and Muriel Elliott, founders of the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers.
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