Police departments in New Jersey are cracking down on drunk driving this month as part of a campaign to reduce DWI-related accidents.
Twelve police departments in Morris County will participate in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" crackdown, which will run from August 18 through September 4. As part of the campaign, state and local law enforcement will set up sobriety checkpoints. Roving patrols will also target drivers who may be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
First-time DWI offenders in New Jersey may face fines of up to $500, jail time, license suspension up to one year, and high surcharges and fees. Those with a BAC of .10% or higher may also be required to use an interlock device for six months to one year.
"Nearly 30 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey are alcohol-related," says Gary Poedubicky, NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety's Acting Director. "This is a zero-tolerance campaign. If drivers are caught operating their vehicle while impaired, they will be arrested."
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety provides local police departments with grants to run the two-week campaign.
Other counties will also participate in the national campaign, with many cities receiving grants for increased law enforcement presence. Morris County received a $5,500 grant to enforce the campaign.
In 2016's campaign, participating police departments made 1,649 DWI arrests.
The "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign is designed to raise awareness about the risks of drinking and driving through educational activities and high-visibility law enforcement. The campaign stretches through Labor Day weekend, when drivers are more likely to drive while impaired.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, there were more than 750 drunk-driving related deaths between 2010 and 2014 over the Labor Day holiday.
High-visibility enforcement, according to the NHTSA, reduces drunk-driving related fatalities by 20%.
Police departments participating in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign recommend spending the night (if possible) wherever the activity is being held, having a designated driver, or taking public transportation if drivers plan on drinking. Calling a taxi or using a car service app, like Lyft or Uber, can also help keep intoxicated drivers out from behind the wheel.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are preparing for the campaign, which kicks off a little earlier in some states. Police departments will be doubling down on patrols which will watch for impaired drivers on the road.