OC LAW ENFORCEMENT WORKS TO ADDRESS DISTURBING 2015 STATS WITH ADDED THANKSGIVING DWI ENFORCEMENT
With (7) seven of (10) ten fatal accidents over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday involving drugs or alcohol, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced stepped up DWI enforcement this Thanksgiving. The enforcement effort will concentrated in the Seaside Heights area and consist of numerous checkpoints/roving patrols searching for impaired drivers. In making his announcement, Prosecutor Coronato reminded drivers that Thanksgiving is a time for thanks, not mourning avoidable tragedies caused by irresponsible drivers.
Prosecutor Coronato stated, “It appears that Thanksgiving is no longer just the holiday for breaking bread with loved ones, but for many it now includes celebrating excessively with alcohol or drugs. The significant increase in the number of impaired drivers causing last year’s Thanksgiving fatal accidents is extremely disturbing. The danger that impaired driving poses is just too important to ignore. We beg those who get behind the wheel this holiday to drive responsibly and make smart choices.”
While inattentive and aggressive drivers are always targets of law enforcements’ regular patrols, the purpose of these efforts is to detect, educate, deter, arrest, and vigorously prosecute impaired drivers. The program targets those under the influence of alcohol, but in response to Ocean County’s drug crisis also utilizes an addition of two Drug Recognition Experts at each check point to detect those under the influence of narcotics. The county also oversees a county wide call out system for DRE’s to respond and assist agencies in conducting evaluations of subjects suspected to be operating a motor vehicle under the influence of narcotics.
Each year impaired drivers are responsible for about a third of the deaths occurring on Ocean County roadways. Last year Ocean County had 38 fatalities on our roadways. Though our county has moved from second highest in the state for fatalities from a year ago, to now ranking fifth out of the 21 counties there is no cause for celebration. Even one fatality is too many.
The checkpoint program, which is funded in part by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, will be conducted by local police agencies in conjunction with Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit focusing on both intoxicated and drug impaired drivers. The program is operated/coordinated by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Vehicular Homicide Unit under the direction of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Weatherstone.
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