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TRENTON – With New Year’s Eve known to be one of the biggest party nights of the year, the 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 if you planned to drink on New Year’s Eve, there were some simple steps to follow to ensure you 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.”

“There are fatal consequences for drinking and getting behind the wheel. About 150 people are killed every year in this state in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. These tragedies are preventable and the first step in doing that is having plan to get home safely”

Poedubicky and Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre both noted the importance of having a designated driver if you drink. 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 the state 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:

  • If you’ve consumed alcohol, even just one drink, take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
  • If you’re intoxicated, and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member escort you safely to your doorstep.
  • Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle. It’s the best defense against an impaired driver.

posted by Sue Calloway

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