TRENTON - A statewide campaign to crack down on drunken driving during the holiday season includes $633,600 in grants to fund increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints, the state announced Wednesday.
More than 400 police agencies will participate in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, the state Department of Highway Traffic Safety said in a news release. Of them, 144 will receive grants of $4,400.
The campaign, set to run from Friday through Jan. 2, is aimed at holding in check the increased rate of drunken driving that police typically see each year around the holidays.
In Cherry Hill, the police department will be using its money to fund increased patrol levels overall, as well as funding DWI-specific patrols and signboards to inform drivers, said Lt. Sean Redmond, the department's spokesman.
The township police department, which was one of 95 agencies to receive similar grants last year, doesn't have plans to set up sobriety checkpoints, Redmond said, because officers can be more proactive when on patrol.
"Every year we do pretty well. We have our major thoroughfares," Redmond said, citing Routes 70 and 38. "Some of these roads, they're highly traveled roads, so the chances of somebody driving while intoxicated on the roads, you're going to get."
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater is considered drunk driving in New Jersey, but the state warned in its release that drivers found to be impaired even below that limit can be convicted of drunken driving.
"Consuming even small amounts of alcohol dulls the senses, decreases reaction time, and hampers judgment, vision and alertness," the highway safety department said.
- Jonathan Lai