Section: Jersey City Medical Center News

Jersey City Medical Center Joins National Crackdown to Reduce Drunk Driving Fatalities


'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' Campaign Will Target Drunk Drivers

From mid-August through Labor Day, Jersey City Medical Center's Trauma Division and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety is sponsoring an awareness campaign as part of the annual nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" crackdown on drunk driving.

The effective nationwide drunk driving campaign will include high-visibility enforcement and high-profile events, supported by nationally-paid advertising, creating a comprehensive effort to curb drunk driving in August and through the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Although it is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive legally drunk (with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), far too many people across the nation get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the serious nature of the nation's continuing drunk driving epidemic.

"Every year, about one third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more drunk drivers or motorcycle operators," said Marissa Fisher, a trauma nurse and Injury Prevention Manager at Jersey City Medical Center. "In 2011, 9,878 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers. That works out to approximately one drunk driving fatality every 53 minutes."

Fisher added that national holidays are particularly dangerous.

During the Labor Day weekend in 2011, a total of 138 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. Of those fatalities, 83 percent occurred within a 12-hour period beginning at 6 p.m.

Drunk driving takes a particularly heavy toll among young drivers. Among 18- to 34-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 42 percent were alcohol-impaired.

"Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent," said Fisher. "By joining this nationwide effort, we hope to make Hudson County's roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period.

"We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel drunk is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do chose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses."

Being arrested for driving drunk brings a wide range of negative consequences into one's life. Drunk drivers face jail time, loss of their driver's license, and steep financial repercussions that include higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.

"Driving drunk is simply not worth the risk," Fisher said. "So don't take the chance. Remember, law enforcement will be out in force and we will be watching, so 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.'"

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