Patrols Increased To Help Prevent Holiday Fatalities

overturn on lurelwood_wmStepped-up enforcement of drunken driving laws will begin on local roadways tonight, in response to one of the biggest bar nights of the year. “Most of the college kids are going to be home, so it’s a pretty busy weekend,” said Belmar Lt. Andrew Huisman. Belmar’s police department is one of many throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties that will dedicate extra manpower to roadway patrols during the holiday weekend hoping to deter not only drunk drivers but aggressive ones as well. “Often the behavior for impaired and aggressive drivers are the same,” said New Jersey State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones. “But with impaired drivers, sometimes they feel bulletproof and then they don’t have the reaction time on the roads.”

State troopers will step up their roadway enforcement on both interstates as well as rural roadways throughout the state, Jones said.

“It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation where we try to get as much personnel on the road as possible,” he said.

The State Police effort is part of a new initiative undertaken with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, that will include troopers starting their days hearing first-hand accounts from families and victims who have experienced tragedy because of alcohol-related crashes.

The goal, said Col. Rick Fuentes, is to have a fatality-free Thanksgiving on New Jersey roadways.

“There are a number of decisions people make before any trip, but the first and most important is ‘Should I be driving?’ ” Fuentes said.

Last year, nine people were killed in Thanksgiving crashes, three more than in 2007.

In Hazlet, officers will also be out in force, fully aware that the extra volume on roads likely means an increased number of intoxicated drivers.

“If you’re drinking and driving, chances are, you’re going to get caught,” said Detective Sgt. Charles McBride. APP

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