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Police Grant Supports Labor Day DWI Crackdown

Hillsborough police get funding to continue “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over” program.

Written by Mike Deak

The Hillsborough Police Department is one of 156 law enforcement agencies to receive a $4,400 grant from the state Division of Highway Safety to participate in the national “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk or impaired drivers from Aug. 16 to Sept. 2.

The grant will fund saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

”We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel drunk is a terrible idea,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do chose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”

Poedubicky said  law enforcement officials expect a high volume of travelers during the Labor Day weekend (Aug. 30 – Sept. 2), which not coincidentally falls at the end of the drunken driving enforcement campaign.

During the 2011 Labor Day weekend, a total of 138 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Of those fatalities, 83 percent occurred during early evening and overnight, from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.

Drunken driving takes a particularly heavy toll among young drivers. Among 18- to 34-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 42 percent were alcohol-impaired.

“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make New Jersey’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period,” Poedubicky said.

Penalties for a first DWI conviction can include fines of up to $500, 30 days in jail, one-year driver’s license suspension and court costs. Successive DWI convictions carry stiffer penalties.

During last year’s crackdown, law enforcement officers made 1,459 DWI arrests statewide. Police also issued citations for speeding (6,550), seatbelt violations (4,258), driving with a suspended license (3,193) and reckless driving (947). Nearly 2,000 fugitives were also apprehended during the crackdowns.

 

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