The holiday season is in full swing. Shopping malls are decorated with brightly lit trees, children are being extra nice, and law enforcement is increasing the number of patrols on the road. In the past, New Jersey officials have participated in the national safety campaign designed to reduce the number of people drinking and driving.
Previously the campaign was called "Over the Limit, Under Arrest." But this year the campaign, which runs until after the New Year, is called "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that this name change will better target younger male drivers, thought to be at a greater risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash during the holidays.
The NHTSA made sure to note that these types of accidents can impact anyone. However their research shows that men between the ages of 18 and 34 are a greater risk of a DUI-related crash. Statistics gathered from other federal agencies regarding New Jersey include:
- 2,115 drivers were arrested for drunk driving last year
- More than 8,500 speeding tickets were handed out last winter
- More than 5,000 seatbelt violations were issued last winter
- 168 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents last year
New Jersey police officers will be conducting a number of sobriety checkpoints as part of the campaign. This means that drivers will be seeing more patrols out on the roads watching for suspected drunk drivers.
Given the heightened concern in this next month, there may be incidents where police pull someone over even though that individual is not intoxicated. Drivers should understand their rights if they are charged with drinking and driving. A DWI conviction can lead to a number of different consequences; defending against charges can help to reduce or even eliminate many of those penalties.
Source: NJ Today, "NJ Launches Stepped-Up Holiday DWI Enforcement Campaign," Dec. 5, 2011