The Division of Highway Traffic Safety this week announced grants totaling more than $540,000 that will be used by local law enforcement agencies to crack down on drunk and impaired drivers as part of the national initiative, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
One hundred and ten law enforcement agencies across New Jersey received funds to staff saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs from Aug. 16 through Sept. 3. More than 300 additional agencies, including the New Jersey State Police, are expected to join the annual statewide traffic safety effort aimed at reducing highway crashes.
“The risks of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are enormous and the consequences are tragic,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “With ride share apps and other forms of public transportation readily available, there’s no excuse for anyone to get behind the wheel impaired.”
In 2017, driving while intoxicated - either under the influence of alcohol or drugs - was listed as the major contributing factor in more than 25% of the 591 fatal crashes that occurred on New Jersey roads that year. Those 158 alcohol/drug-related crashes killed 174 people.
During a five-year period between 2013 and 2017, 678 individuals were killed in alcohol-related crashes in the state.
“Impaired driving remains one of the biggest traffic safety threats in New Jersey and combating it is a year-round priority in our state,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “As we head into the final weeks of summer and the busy Labor Day driving weekend, our officers will be stepping up those efforts, working longer hours and increasing sobriety checks to keep intoxicated drivers off the road. If you’re out there driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the odds are we’re going to stop you and arrest you.”
Last year, law enforcement agencies statewide dedicated an estimated 6,200 total enforcement hours to the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, including 20 fixed sobriety checkpoints. During the 3-week initiative, more than 1,196 impaired driving arrests were made and an additional 4,764 speeding summonses and 3,194 seat belt citations were written.