NJ police on patrol for impaired driving all Thanksgiving weekend
TRENTON — Police all over New Jersey will be looking for intoxicated drivers during the Thanksgiving holiday season with numerous sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols.
State Police will conduct a checkpoint in the Belmar and Neptune area on Wednesday night.
Howell police also plan a checkpoint along northbound Route 9 starting at 11 p.m. on Wednesday night though 3 a.m. Thursday as part of the Monmouth County DWI Task Force.
The night before Thanksgiving represents one of the biggest nights for alcohol consumption of the year, according to Task Force coordinator Michael Palmer.
"We're out there to help educate the public and help everyone arrive home safely. If that means we have to take somebody off the road who had too much to drink, then we'll do that also," Palmer said.
Citing the U.S. Supreme Court case of Delaware vs. Prouse, which prevents law enforcement from randomly stopping any vehicle regardless of any reasonable suspicion, Palmer said "in Monmouth County we pull everyone in."
Roxbury police will conduct a checkpoint in conjunction with the Morris County Prosecutor's Office. Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said other checkpoints will be set up around the county but did not disclose the time and locations.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronado noted that five of the seven deaths on New Jersey roadways during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend involved passengers in vehicles. He said this prompted "numerous checkpoints/roving patrols" in order to look for impaired drivers.
"The Thanksgiving holiday is for celebrating family and loved ones. We beg those who get behind the wheel this holiday to drive responsibly and make smart choices to assure this holiday remains a time for celebration and not mourning," Coronado said.
Colonel Patrick Callahan, acting superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said there will be an additional 130 troopers on New Jersey roads this weekend. Their efforts will be focused on speeding, aggressive driving, seatbelt usage, cell phone violations, distracted driving and DWI.
Drivers who see aggressive drivers should call #77.
"Be ready to give a description of the vehicle and occupants, a location and direction, and a license plate if possible," Callahan said.