With New Year’s Eve known to be one of the biggest party nights of the year, the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety is reminding New Jerseyans to ensure they have a safe and sober way to get home should they celebrate ringing in 2014 with an alcoholic beverage.
Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said that for those planning to drink on New Year’s Eve, there are some simple steps to follow to ensure they make it home from celebrating safe and sound.
“Plan to go out with a designated driver or take mass transit or a taxi,” Poedubicky said. “If you can, spend the night, rather than getting behind the wheel. If you drink and plan to walk home, have a friend or family member escort you home.”
About 150 people are killed every year in New Jersey in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, Poedubicky said. “These tragedies are preventable and the first step in doing that is having plan to get home safely,” he said.
Poedubicky and the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Director Michael Halfacre both noted the importance of having a designated driver. Both divisions have partnered with the HERO Campaign, which has become a national model for preventing drunk driving by encouraging individuals to become designated drivers.
Both agencies work closely to crackdown on impaired driving with local law enforcement. Police departments notify the ABC of licensed establishments that have a history of over-serving patrons that are soon there after arrested for Driving While Impaired (DWI) or have been involved in serious motor vehicle crashes. An ABC investigation into those establishments can then lead to fines or suspensions.
Poedubicky said local law enforcement agencies will be on the roads this weekend continuing to crack down on drunk drivers as part of the state’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” mobilization. The campaign has provided federal grants of $4,400 to 166 law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey to implement the impaired driving enforcement initiative. Officers will be conducting saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.
The Division offers the following advice to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for all New Jerseyans and out-of-state visitors:
• For those who consumed alcohol, even just one drink, take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive them home.
• Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
• For those who are intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member to safely walk them home to their doorstep.
• Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of the seating position in the vehicle. It’s the best defense against an impaired driver.
Source: New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety
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