Campaign Runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 7
SOMERSET – Chief George McNeil reports that the Somerset Police Department will be increasing the number of patrols on local roads as part of the national mobilization of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
The campaign is an initiative of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s (EOPSS) Highway Safety Division and will continue through the remainder of the summer and into the fall. Additional patrols by the Somerset Police Department are being funded as part of the initiative by a grant from the EOPSS.
Police urge motorists who have been drinking or using marijuana or other drugs to plan ahead and designate a driver, use a ride-sharing service or take public transportation.
“We ask that our residents always stay sober and alert while driving. With today’s driving services such as Uber, Lyft and other ride-share apps, there is no excuse for an impaired driver to get behind the wheel,” Chief McNeil said. “With these funds, our department will be increasing our patrols in the coming weeks, and especially during Labor Day weekend. As always, we ask that everyone remains safe and is mindful of others on the road.”
Somerset Police will have several officers on the lookout for impaired and reckless drivers over the coming weeks. Everyone is reminded to never get behind the wheel if they have been drinking and to never get into a vehicle if the driver is impaired.
Those who are charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol will lose their license and could face jail time and incur the cost of significant fines and expenses.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the following statistics regarding impaired driving:
- Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers.
- In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
- A total of 231 (22%) of traffic fatalities among children age 14 and younger in 2018 occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
- In 2018, one person was killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver in the U.S.
- During the Labor Day holiday weekend from 2014-2018, 44% (945) of traffic deaths involved drivers who had been drinking.
- During the 2018 Labor Day Holiday Weekend there were 439 traffic crashes and of those crashes 43% involved drivers who had been drinking and 38% involved a drunk driver.
- Drugs were present in 43% of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result in 2015, more frequently than alcohol was present.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects — slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance, and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.
- Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own.
For more information on the Office of Grants and Research’s impaired driving enforcement grant program or to view accompanying “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” television ads, visit the state’s Impaired Driving website here.