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Labor Day and drunk driving

Anytime a holiday approaches, concerns increase about road safety in New Jersey. Some holidays are more dangerous than others because drinking and driving becomes more prevalent. One of the times this happens is Labor Day weekend. This holiday is often celebrated by eating good food, which is often accompanied by alcohol. People drink too much yet still feel they are fine to get behind the wheel, thus creating a dangerous environment on roadways.

According to MADD, Labor Day weekend increases drunk driving deaths exponentially. They jump from one every 51 minutes to one every 34 minutes. However, law enforcement does a solid job of working to increase awareness and prevent many intoxicated drivers from getting on the road through programs and campaigns that usually run from the middle of August until the beginning of September. It has been shown such campaigns can help reduce drunk driving fatalities by about 20 percent.

Chatham Patch reports in New Jersey, law enforcement is stepping up its efforts in 2017 to run the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign from August 19 to September 5. This program has been in place since 1999 and is used often during high traffic periods, such as holidays. It involves increasing checkpoints and patrols on roadways, along with more vigilant work to spot drunk drivers. In addition, educational materials are used more widely and made more visible.

Dialing #77 allows people to report suspected drunk drivers. However, prevention is key. People are advised to make prior plans when they know they will be drinking, such as spending the night and designating a sober driver.

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