For drivers traveling in Cape May and surrounding New Jersey counties, news reports indicate that the Avalon Police Department and other law enforcement agencies are taking part in a DUI prevention campaign until March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. Known worldwide as a day of celebration, Saint Paddy’s Day can be a busy time for local police and state law enforcement agencies focused on arresting drivers found driving drunk, as well as violating other DUI and DWI laws.
As a New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer, I have seen the effects of these enhanced enforcement campaigns. Many motorists are picked up on the road or at sobriety checkpoints, also known as DWI roadblocks. The penalties for drunk driving or drug DUI convictions can be very stiff and can also include jail time for repeat offenders. It’s always a good idea to seek professional legal advice if you or someone you know is arrested or receives a summons for driving while intoxicated.
According to reports, the Avalon Police Department is currently participating in an impaired driving prevention operation until the 17th. It’s no coincidence that this campaign coincides with St. Patrick’s Day, which police know involves the consumption of alcoholic beverages by many motorists.
In order to help make the holiday safe for the driving public, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reportedly developed a safety program for local police agencies to put into effect during the month of March. This effort is based, according to the NHTSA, on statistics that show alcohol plays a major role in accident-related fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day.
In 2008, 37 percent of motorists and motorcycle riders who were involved in fatal traffic wrecks on St. Patrick’s Day had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more (0.08 is the legal threshold for being drunk in New Jersey, as well as other states around the country). According to reports, there were 134 fatal accidents on St. Patrick’s Day in 2008, 50 of which involved at least one motor vehicle operator who was legally legally drunk at the time.
Police recommend the following steps to having a safe St. Patrick’s Day:
- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin
- Before drinking, choose a designated sober driver
- Leave your car keys at home
- If you believe you are impaired away from home, call a sober friend or family member to get a safe ride home
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely
Avalon Police Will Take Part in DUI Prevention Campaign, CapeMayCountyHerald.com, March 03, 2010