Both Bernardsville and Bernards Township police departments will be assigning extra patrols to further crack down on drunk drivers as part of an annual holiday season “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to be held throughout New Jersey, police announced from both towns.
Beginning this Friday and continuing through January 2, 2014, local and state law enforcement officials will conduct "saturation patrols looking for drivers who may be driving while intoxicated," according to information from Bernards Township and Bernardsville.
“This is a critical law enforcement program that can save lives during a time of the year when impaired driving traditionally increases by nearly 10 percent," said Bernards Township Police Captain Edward Byrnes. “This initiative brings attention to the serious consequences of drunk driving and the grave danger those who choose to drink and drive pose to all who share the road with them," he added.
Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine reported that the NJ Department of Highway Transportation Safety notified the Bernardsville police department that a grant of $4,400 has been awarded to reimburse the borough for overtime expenses incurred as part of this initiative.
The same grant for $4,400 was awarded to Bernards Township, Byrnes said.
In Bernardsville, “Extra patrol officers will be deployed during strategic times and at various locations in the borough in an effort to detect and apprehend drivers operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs," Valentine said.
As part of a concentrated national effort, the state and local campaigns help to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement and public education tools, according to information from Bernards Township police.
Last year in New Jersey, 19 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities were alcohol-related, the release from Bernards Township police said. Nationally, during the combined months of December in 2007 through 2011, there were 4,169 people killed in drunk driving-related crashes, police said.
The Bernardsville Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies participating in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2013 Year End Holiday Statewide Crackdown," offered the following advice to help prevent drinking and driving related injuries or deaths:
· Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
· Spend the night where the activity is held.
· If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.
· Always buckle-up, every ride. "It’s your best defense against an impaired driver," police said.
· For those who are intoxicated and traveling on foot, police advise 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.
· Be responsible. "If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel," according to a reminder from the program.