The holiday season is officially upon us and as we hit the road for Thanksgiving this week, sobriety checkpoints are being set up and law enforcement officials in Ocean and Monmouth Counties want you to plan ahead and drive sober.

(Doug Menuez, ThinkStock)

"We want everyone to enjoy this wonderful holiday season, but if you are going to drink, don't drive, it's as simple as that," said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden. "Law enforcement will be out in full force and on the lookout for drunk drivers."

If your operating a motor vehicle your considered over the legal limit in New Jersey if your blood alcohol levels are .08 or higher.

This time last year, during the Thanksgiving holiday of 2015 in Ocean County seven of ten fatal accidents involved drugs or alcohol.

There will be numerous sobriety checkpoints set up this week along with roving patrols to search for any driver operating their vehicle under the influence or impaired.

"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," said Ocean County Prosecutor Joe Coronato. "The significant increase in the number of impaired drivers causing last years 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."

Coronato adds that even though Ocean County now ranks 5th and not 2nd among all 21 of New Jersey's counties, one fatality is one too many.

Here is a list of safety tips as we head into Thanksgiving and the holiday season from the Monmouth County Sheriffs Office:

  • Before going out, designate a driver who will not consume any alcohol the entire night.
  • DO NOT DRIVE if you are impaired. Call a cab, a sober friend or family member.
  • If you don't have a ride, stay where you are. If you live nearby, do not attempt to walk or ride a bicycle home.
  • If you see someone about to get behind the wheel or on a motorcycle after they have been drinking, take their keys and find them a ride with someone who is sober.
  • Under no circumstances should adults provide alcohol to a minor or allow anyone under 21 to consume alcohol while at their home.
  • Park your car in well-lit areas of shopping center parking lots.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Limit the number of trips back to your car.
  • Don't leave packages exposed in your car. Lock them in your trunk.
  • Have keys ready before you get in your car.
  • Don't shop alone especially at night.
  • Look in your car before entering - do not enter if something does not seem right.
  • ELFS-Enter the car, Lock the doors, Fasten Seat Belt, Scram

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