As a result, East Brunswick Police will once again be participating in the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign running through Jan. 2. The department was one of 144 agencies throughout the state that received grants of $4,400 from the Division of Highway Traffic Safety for the program.
During “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” local and state law enforcement agencies will increase saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, in addition to raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving through enforcement and education tools.
“During the holiday season, law enforcement officials always see a jump in the number of drunk and impaired drivers,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “Police will be targeting those drivers and once again this effort will send the message that if you chose to drink and drive, you will be arrested every time, no exception.”
Throughout New Jersey, 19 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities were alcohol-related, while 4,169 people were killed in drunk driving crashes during the combined months of December from 2007 to 2011 nationwide, according to police.
In 2012, there were 158 fatalities involving impaired drivers in New Jersey, which accounted for 27 percent of 589 total crash fatalities.
Last year during the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" crackdown, there were 1,555 DUI arrests, in addition to 5,138 speeding summonses and 3,113 seat belt summonses, with more than 1,600 fugitives were apprehended during the campaign statewide, according to police.A person is guilty of drunk driving in New Jersey if they get behind the wheel with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. However, people can be convicted of driving under the influence even if their BAC is below 0.08 percent. Consuming any amount of alcohol that negatively impacts driving can lead to a drunk driving conviction, according to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
Penalties for a first DWI arrest include fines of up to $500 and a one-year driver’s license suspension. Auto insurance surcharges can also rise several thousand dollars.
“No one ever thinks that their holiday celebration will end in jail, or worse, in a hospital,” Poedubicky said. “But for those who include alcohol in their celebrations and then get behind the wheel, this is often the case.”