As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, we know that many people arrested for drunk driving are surprised, or at the very least shocked that they may be facing thousands of dollars in fines, penalties and assessments if they are found guilty of DWI in a court of law. A percentage of drunk driving and drug DUI arrests are made at sobriety checkpoints set up from time to time all around the Garden State. Other people can find themselves on the wrong side of the law following a simple traffic infraction, which then turns into a full-blown drunk driving arrest and a trip to the local police department for a breath test.
The point we would like to make is that whether one believes that there is too much or too little focus on DWI offenders, the law is specific that no one can legally drive in New Jersey with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. (Of course, holders of commercial driver’s licenses, also known as CDLs, have an even lower BAC to which they must adhere.) The gist of this conversation is that state and local law enforcement officer are motivated to keep drunken drivers off the roads.
Certain campaigns, locally and nationally, are also used to keep a high level of enforcement, as well as attempt to educate the public to the dangers of DWI and drug DUI (including doctor-prescribed medications and illicit drugs like cocaine and marijuana). One such campaign that has been used in the Garden State is the HERO anti-DUI campaign, which this year was expanded to include the Jersey Shore.
According to the news reports earlier in the season, the HERO anti-DWI campaign was created to promote the increased use of designated drivers across all parts of New Jersey, with this particular summertime effort being aimed squarely at one of our state’s primary playgrounds. Based in Somers Point the campaign itself was reportedly founded by several residents of Egg Harbor Twp. The current effort was looking to enlist the support of upward of 500 bars, pubs and restaurants all along the Shore from Cape May to Sandy Hook.
As HERO Campaign supporters are keen to remind the public, alcohol-related traffic accident kill on average 13,000 people across this nation, while resulting in the injury of 25,000 more Americans annually. These figures are not made up by the organizers; they are based on statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
As part of the campaign, HERO organizers had reportedly erected a 60-foot-tall billboard out in Atlantic City to promote the campaign with funding provided by Clear Channel Outdoor. This kind of “in-your-face” advertising is bound to get people’s attention, though only time will tell whether or not the message itself is taken to heart by the public. As the billboard suggests, “Be a Jersey Shore HERO, Be a Designated Driver”; it is hoped that the effort will generate up to 10,000 designated drivers all along the Jersey shore.
As motorists ourselves, we commend the organizers in their effort to create a mindset in which people actively seek out and utilize designated drivers. For those people who do over-imbibe during the summertime, getting a ride from a sober individual is far better than climbing behind the wheel in perhaps less than fine shape. Avoiding a DWI summons while helping others to stay safe on the road would appear to be a win-win for everyone involved.
HERO anti-DUI campaign expands focus along Jersey Shore, PressOfAtlanticCity.com, April 23, 2012