Middlesex County Establishes Sobriety Checkpoints For Holidays

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced Thursday that police have begun setting up sobriety checkpoints to ensure motorists drive safely and soberly through the holidays.

“Drive sober or get pulled over’’ is the message police throughout Middlesex County will be delivering to motorists who may be stopped at checkpoints that could be set up at any location at any time during the holidays.

“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has been successfully operating sobriety checkpoints in the county since 1985 as part of a continuing effort to educate motorists and to ensure the safety of the public,’’ Kaplan said.

“Law enforcement in Middlesex County has been actively pursuing intoxicated drivers,’’ Prosecutor Kaplan said. “We cannot dismiss the likelihood that the establishment of sobriety checkpoints serves as an educational tool and a deterrent.’’

The sobriety checkpoint program has been operated successfully by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Fatal Crash Investigations Unit and various municipal police departments. The sobriety checkpoints will continue through New Year’s Day.

The effort is being financed with a $33,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway and Traffic Safety. The slogan, “Drive sober or get pulled over,’’ is part of a nationwide law enforcement campaign against impaired driving.

“The purpose of Middlesex County’s program has been to take intoxicated drivers off the roads, educate the public about the dangers of impaired driving and deter people from getting behind the wheel after using alcohol or drugs,’’ said Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Sewitch, who oversees the Fatal Crash Investigations Unit.

Above all, the purpose is to “ensure a safe holiday season,’’ Sewitch said.

“The county has always made resident safety a priority,’’ said Middlesex County Deputy Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee. “These sobriety checkpoints are an important tool in keeping those who use our roadways safe.’’

“Any time we can remove an intoxicated driver from the roads we enhance the safety of everyone else,’’ said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano.

Motorists who are stopped at sobriety checkpoints will be handed pamphlets advising them of the consequences 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. Second and third offenses include incarceration at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick.

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