Holiday DWI checkpoints


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BY ERIKA NORTON

Police hope to curtail drunk driving this holiday season with the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

The crackdown began in New Jersey on Dec. 7 and will end on New Year’s Day. Increased state and local patrols will be at checkpoints looking for drivers under the influence, throughout the holiday season, when impaired driving increases by nearly 10 percent.

It’s all part of a national campaign of high-visibility enforcement and public education about the dangers of impaired driving.

During the last five years, New Jersey has experienced nearly 38,000 alcohol-involved crashes resulting in more than 700 fatalities, according to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. Last year, 20 percent of the state’s motor vehicle fatalities were alcohol-related.

The Sparta Police Department was one of three departments in Sussex County to receive a state grant of $5,500 to run the campaign.

“We’ll be employing two additional patrols for 6-hour periods from 8 p.m. through 2 a.m. on eight different days from December 7 to January 1,” said Sparta Lieutenant John T. Lamon. “Our officers will focus on erratic driving and alcohol violations.”

The other two police departments that received grants in the county were Hopatcong and Vernon.

Nationally, more than 10,000 people die each year from drunk driving crashes. The societal cost associated with these crashes is estimated to be $37 billion annually.

Law enforcement agencies offer the following advice:

Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend for a lift.

Spend the night where the activity or party is held.

If spotting an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. It could save a life.

Always buckle up. It’s the best defense against an impaired driver.

Walking while intoxicated isn’t safe either. Call a cab or ask a sober friend or family member for assistance.



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