Local police cracking down on drunk driving this holiday season

Sparta, Vernon, Hopatcong receive state grants


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BY ERIKA NORTON

Police departments across the county are cracking down on drunk driving this holiday season, as part of the annual statewide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.

The statewide, year end holiday crackdown began Dec. 7 and will end New Year’s Day. State and local patrols will increase patrols and conduct sobriety checkpoints to look for possible drunk drivers during a time when Impaired driving traditionally increases by nearly 10 percent.

The national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign aims to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving through a combination of high-visibility enforcement and public education.

During the last five years, New Jersey has experienced nearly 38,000 alcohol involved crashes resulting in more than 700 fatalities, according to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. Last year, 20 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey were alcohol-related.

The Sparta Police Department was one of three departments in Sussex County to receive a state grant of $5,500 to run the campaign.

“We'll be employing two additional patrols for a six-hour periods between 8 p.m. thru 2 a.m. on eight different days from December 7 to January 1,” said Sparta Lieutenant John T. Lamon. “Our officers will focus on erratic driving and alcohol violations.”

The other two police departments that received grants in the county were Hopatcong and Vernon.

Nationally, more than 10,000 people die each year from drunk driving crashes. The societal cost associated with these crashes is estimated to be $37 billion annually.

Law enforcement agencies offer the following advice for the holiday season:

Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home.

Spend the night where the activity or party 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.

If you 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 drive or escort you to your doorstep.

Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.



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