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Office of Public Information (609) 882-2000
Capt. Al Della Fave ext. 6514
Lt. Gerald Lewis ext. 6516
Sgt. Stephen Jones ext. 6513
Sgt. Jeanne Hengemuhle ext. 6515

March 16, 2007

St. Pat’s Stats Turn Green Day Blue

West Trenton, N.J. - Saint Patrick’s Day fatal crashes in New Jersey are at intolerable levels and law enforcement throughout the state will be adding extra enforcement to reduce those numbers as the holiday rolls around again.

Over the past five St. Patrick’s Days, there have been 19 fatal crashes resulting in 21 deaths. More important is the fact that 10 of those deaths involved alcohol, with levels above .10% blood alcohol content in each case. That’s about two times the number of crashes with alcohol involvement based on the yearly average of 27.6%. The legal limit at which drivers are considered intoxicated is .08% BAC.

Feeling the urgency of these tragic numbers, law enforcement has agreed to boost the number of DWI patrols across the entire state for the weekend. There will be roving patrols and even some stationary checkpoints with troopers and officers looking for signs of drinking drivers. The New Jersey Department of Transportation is using their variable message signs on major highways to remind drivers that extra DWI patrols will be active.

“We know that people will drink more than they intended and stay out later than they wanted. We want partygoers to plan ahead by having one designated driver per carload, or a place to sleep until they are sober,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “All New Jersey law enforcement is unified in our purpose this St. Patrick’s Day—and that is to keep intoxicated drivers off our roads. One evening of fun is not worth a lifetime of misery,” he said.

There were 773 New Jersey roadway deaths in 2006, up from 748 in 2005. The cost of traffic crashes in our state is approximately $6 billion. Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

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