With the holiday season in full swing, roadways nationwide become more dangerous and deadly, due to the influx of impaired driving that takes place in tandem with social gatherings. With an average 10-percent seasonal influx in drunk driving incidents, the North Bergen Police Department has declared its full support of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over year-end crackdown.
The program is underway now and will last until Jan. 1, 2019.
Mayor Nicholas Sacco signed a proclamation on Dec. 5 to put the program into action locally, citing the 10,874 lives that were lost due to drunk driving in 2017; of all motor vehicle fatalities, 20 percent involved impaired drivers.
“A lot more people are taking public transportation.”– NBPD Captain Robert Farley
Nabbing the inebriated
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, a movement funded by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the New Jersey Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund, enables local police departments to increase the number of random patrols and sobriety checkpoints during the crackdown. By putting more officers on the street to nab drunk drivers, the NBPD hopes to prevent future drunk-driving fatalities.
At a local level, signs point to a positive impact. “We’re noticing a big difference here from previous years,” said NBPD Captain Robert Farley. “A lot more people are taking public transportation, or riding with Uber and Lyft … Our strategy uses high visibility to deter things before they happen. We also use social media to improve the public’s awareness of the campaign.”
The department conducted a large-scale sobriety checkpoint the night before Thanksgiving, which it promoted beforehand on social media. “Thanksgiving eve is one of our most frequent nights for DWI incidents,” Farley said. “This year, we only had to make one arrest.”
Mike Montemarano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org