The Berkeley Township Police Department is gearing up for the state's annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign," which runs from Dec. 6 through Jan. 2.
Berkeley is one of 144 law enforcement agencies throughout the state to receive a $4,400 grant from the Division of Highway Safety for the project.
The money will help pay for "saturation patrols" and high-visibility sobriety checkpoints. Ninety-five agencies received the grant in 2012.
“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," he said.
New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if he or she operates a
motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent
But you can be
convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor
even when your BAC is below 0.08 percent. Consuming even small amounts
of alcohol dulls the senses, decreases reaction time, and hampers
judgment, vision and alertness.
If you consume any amount of alcohol and your driving is negatively impacted, you can be convicted of drunk driving, Poedubicky said.Penalties for a first DWI arrest include fines of up to $500 and a one-year driver’s license suspension. Violators can also expect auto insurance surcharges of 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.”
There were 158 fatalities directly attributed to impaired driving in the state in 2012. That accounts for 27 percent of the 589 total crash fatalities.
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers the following advice to ensure a safe holiday travel season for those who choose to drink alcohol:
- Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
- Spend the night rather than get behind the wheel.
- Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
- Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle. It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
- If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive or escort you to your doorstep.
A list of police agencies receiving mobilization grants is available on the Division’s web site, at http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/DSOGPO_12-2013-2014_Grant_Recipients.pdf.