NEW JERSEY – With the winter holidays underway, Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety are reminding motorists to stay sober behind the wheel as New Jersey prepares to launch its annual traffic safety enforcement campaign targeting impaired driving during the busy holiday travel season.
Starting Friday, law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey will begin stepping up traffic patrols and conducting sobriety checkpoints statewide as part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign, which runs through January 1, 2022.
New Jersey’s crackdown on impaired driving is part of a nationwide effort to reduce traffic fatalities during the holiday season, when statistics show increased potential for crashes. The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement and increased public education.
“Let me be clear – those who drive while impaired will face serious consequences,” Bruck said. “Getting behind the wheel drunk or high puts the driver, their passengers, and the public in jeopardy. Our traffic safety campaign will help everyone to enjoy the holiday season—responsibly.”
“Driving drunk or high, especially during the busy holiday travel season, is selfish, dangerous, and illegal,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “The goal of our Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday campaign is to protect the motoring public and save lives by raising awareness of the risks and penalties associated with impaired driving and cracking down on violators. Today we’re giving everyone fair warning that the campaign launches on Friday and anyone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can expect to be pulled over and arrested.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crashes involving drunk drivers accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic crash fatalities nationwide in 2019, claiming the lives of 10,142 that year. Drunk driving fatalities occurred more frequently during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods that year than during any other holiday period.
In New Jersey that year, crashes involving drunk drivers accounted for nearly a quarter of all traffic crash fatalities, claiming the lives of 129 people that year.
To assist with New Jersey’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement efforts, the Division has provided 106 law enforcement agencies throughout the state with grants totaling $632,520 that pay for saturation patrols and high-visibility sobriety checkpoints during the month-long enforcement effort.
Last year, the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday campaign resulted in 590 DUI arrests (alcohol and/or drugs) statewide; and participating police agencies issued 3,121 and 817 summonses for speeding and seat belt violations, respectively.