Toms River, NJ – With the start of the busy summer travel and Prom season looming, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the continuation of its’ annual countywide DWI checkpoint program.  The program consists of staging numerous checkpoints throughout Ocean County.  The program’s design creates a force multiplier by regionalizing and supplementing local DWI enforcement.  The program will also conduct DWI enforcement patrols throughout the county.  In making his announcement, Prosecutor Coronato reminded drivers that an extra measure of caution and not operating under the influence can prevent tragedy.

Prosecutor Coronato stated, “The tremendous added volume of summer shore traffic and all our area High Schools hosting Senior Proms calls for increased vigilance by law enforcement, and that will be the focus over the coming months to keep motorists safe.  We ask that drivers do their part by driving responsibly and making smart choices behind the wheel every day of the year.”

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.