New Jersey’s Sobriety Roadblocks Credited with Reducing Drunken Driving Arrests; DWI-related Accidents and Fatalities

The frequency of drunk driving in the Garden State has reportedly been dropping for years, according to statistics maintained by state law enforcement agencies. As a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer, I can also state that there are numerous motorists picked up for driving under the influence every week in Bergen, Union, Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic and all other counties through our state.

Still the number of drivers arrested for driving while intoxicated has apparently dwindled over the past several decades. According to a recent article, during the holiday season back in 1985 police-operated sobriety checkpoints (also known as DWI roadblocks) frequently had to be shut down due to the shear numbers of drivers who were arrested for driving drunk. In short, law enforcement authorities were overwhelmed by the amount of drunk drivers they were taking into custody at these roadblocks.

Twenty-five years later, Middlesex County roadblocks being operated from early November through mid-December reported a total of just nine drivers arrested for DWI; this out of a total 1,900 cars stopped at checkpoints in North Brunswick and Plainsboro, NJ.

According to the Middlesex prosecutor’s office, holiday drunk driving checkpoints have apparently made a difference over the years. Reportedly in the early days of DWI roadblocks, there were so many drunk driving arrests in just the first hour of operation that the police would run out of officers to handle the volume.

According to the article, officers still detect the odor of alcohol in vehicles stopped during these holiday sobriety roadblocks, yet after officers separate and interview the occupants it is usually determined that the vehicle has a sober designated driver.

The news article included statistics from the Uniform Crime Reports showing that DWI arrests throughout New Jersey dropped almost nine percent between 2007 and 2009 — 2,600 fewer instances of drunk driving. In fact, from 1990 to 2009, the number of intoxicated motorists involved in fatal traffic accidents here in New Jersey dropped almost 50 percent from 195 to 105.

These figures coincide with that from the organization, Mothers Against Drunken Drivers, which says that alcohol-related fatalities have fallen 44 percent nationwide in the past 30 years.

Checkpoints help reduce drunken-driving arrests, accidents, deaths, MyCentralJersey.com, December 19, 2010