Statewide Drunk Driving Clampdown Begins This Weekend

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TRENTON – Drunk drivers will face statewide crackdowns by police officers as part of the annual summer “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky announced today.

The crackdowns will run throughout New Jersey from Aug. 19 to Sept. 5 and police will conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.

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“Any time you drink and drive, you are putting yourself, your family and the public at large in great danger. There is just no excuse to drink and drive,” Dow said. “Having just one drink can impair your judgment and slow your reaction time, which can lead to disastrous consequences.”

In 2010, there were 168 fatalities directly attributed to impaired driving in the state, accounting for 30% of the 556 total crash fatalities. The state’s ultimate goal is zeroing out impaired driving, Dow said.

“Over The Limit, Under Arrest” is a concentrated national effort that helps raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving through high-visibility enforcement and public education. The initiative was launched in 1999 as a program aimed at combating drunk driving during the summer months – one of the busiest travel times of the year.

“The temptation to drink and drive may be there during the summer or on holidays,” Poedubicky said. “But police will be out there to arrest the irresponsible motorists who are willing to indulge that temptation to drive over the limit.”

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety will provide federal grants of $4,400 to 168 law enforcement agencies throughout the state to run the campaigns. In the summer of 2010, “Over The Limit, Under Arrest” crackdowns resulted in 1,707 DWI arrests, up from 1,528 in 2009. In addition, participating police agencies issued 10,106 and 6,109 speeding and seat belt summonses, respectively.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers the following advice to ensure a safe summer travel season for those who choose to drink alcohol this summer:

  • Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Spend the night rather than get behind the wheel.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
  • Always buckle up, 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.

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