Few people have accused New Jersey law enforcement officials as being soft on drunk drivers; certainly not lately, so it wasn’t surprising that with the world’s premier sporting event taking place right here in the Garden State, that police all across the state were gearing up for some serious anti-DWI enforcement. As Monmouth County drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are very familiar with the effort with which state and local patrolmen pursue those who may have had a little too much to drink.
While New Year’s Eve, along with other popular national holidays, are prime time for DWI and drug DUI enforcement, the arrival of the Seahawks and Broncos is really heating things up for state police and municipal cops statewide. According to news reports, police presence on New Jersey roadways promises to be uncommonly high this coming Super Bowl weekend, especially in the East Rutherford area. The New Jersey state attorney general’s office has advise fans who expect to party hard before, during and after the big game to bring a sober designated driver along for the fun.
This warning is not exactly falling on deaf ears, since those who follow police anti-drunk driving campaigns liken Super Bowl weekend to that of New Year’s, which is recognized as one of the largest binge-drinking times of the year. And, because hundreds of New Jersey police will be working overtime to keep the streets safe and free of intoxicated motorists, there is no reason for anyone planning to celebrate professional football’s famous face-off between the best of the NFC and AFC.
Based on news articles, DWI arrest statistics may illustrate what drivers are in for this weekend. Over the past 10 years, an average of 170 drivers were typically arrested and charged with driving under the influence during the New Year’s Eve holiday in the Garden State. Based on a statement from the NJ attorney general’s office, an almost similar number were arrested during past years’ Super Bowl weekend. The fact that the game is being held on New Jersey’s turf has not been lost on anyone.
With hundreds of thousands of football fans and Super Bowl revelers making a beeline to New Jersey for the big game, local and state law enforcement officials made preparations long ago to launch a multiagency effort to combat the higher-than-usual number drunken drivers on Garden State surface streets and interstates. Known as “The Sobriety Blitz,” the enforcement effort is being handled in combination by the New Jersey State Police, the state’s Highway Traffic Safety Division, as well as the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.
As an interesting aside, as the police and other state agencies focus on drivers who are impaired, typically due to alcohol consumption, there is always the possibility that some motorists who are stopped for intoxicated driving may be high on drugs, among them marijuana. Interestingly, at the same time as the Super Bowl, which features teams from two state that have already legalized pot in some way or another, a billboard campaign promoting marijuana has gone up near the game site.
Both sports and general news outlets are apparently abuzz with reports that the Marijuana Policy Project has set up five huge pro-marijuana billboards around MetLife Stadium encouraging the National Football League to curtail its policy of punishing players who test positive for weed. On the opposing side, an anti-pot organization called “Smart Approaches to Marijuana” has its own campaign informing the public of the deleterious and potentially life-threatening effects of smoking marijuana.
As trial attorneys involved in both drunk driving defense, as well as representing individuals accused of marijuana DUI or possession, we can see this weekend going down in the history books as many have already said, the “Stoner Bowl.” Since weed is not yet legal for recreational use in the Garden State, and certainly is against the law for possession in a motor vehicle or driving under the influence of this CDS (controlled dangerous substance), we advise caution while traveling on New Jersey’s roadways this weekend, if only because most everyone will be distracted by the whole affair.
Super Bowl drunk driving police presence coming on Sunday to North Jersey, NorthJersey.com, January 30, 2014
NJ plans DWI crackdown during Super Bowl week, SunHerald.com, January 27, 2014
Even More Marijuana Super Bowl Ads Remind Everyone That Weed Is Safer Than Alcohol, HuffingtonPost.com, January 30, 2014