Annual holiday season drunken-driving crackdown begins Monday | |

Annual Holiday Season Drunken-Driving Crackdown Begins Monday

CENTRAL JERSEY — Today is the first day of a month long campaign to crack down on drunken drivers on New Jersey roads.

As part of the annual “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign, law-enforcement agencies throughout the state will be beefing up patrols and conducting sobriety checkpoints through the holiday season.

The campaign ends Jan. 3.

As part of the annual campaign, which has been a holiday-season fixture in New Jersey since 1999, the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety is providing grants of $5,000 each to 110 law-enforcement departments.

Most police departments in Central Jersey will be using the money to pay overtime for officers on additional drunken-driving patrols.

The state has also distributed information about the program to all law-enforcement agencies in New Jersey. The state also has asked police to report the results of their efforts to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

The New Jersey State Police also will participate in the effort.

“We're hoping to achieve 100 percent participation by police agencies across the state,” said Pam Fischer, director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Last year, 424 police departments participated in the initiative, up from 333 the previous year. This is a vital law-enforcement program that can save lives during a time of the year when impaired driving traditionally increases by nearly 10 percent.”

In New Jersey, 165 people were killed in 2008 as a result of alcohol-related crashes, according to state statistics. That represents approximately 28 percent of the 590 traffic fatalities in the state.

“Despite the gains we've made in reducing drunken-driving related crashes, many individuals still believe that after a few drinks, they're safe to drive,” Fischer said. “Even one drink can alter your judgment and reaction time behind the wheel, putting not only yourself, but everyone on the road, in danger.”
Advice for holiday partiers

If you plan to drink, designate a driver – someone who will not drink so they're sober to drive.

Take mass transit, a cab or ask a sober friend to drive you home.

Spend the night where the holiday activity was held.

Report suspected impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 on their cell phones to
report a drunken driver.

Always use your seatbelt. It's the best defense against an impaired driver.