Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office

                                 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300


                                *News Release*          Date: October 30, 2009




DWI checkpoints begin this weekend in Middlesex County



     Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan today announced plans to set up a year ‘round schedule of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) checkpoints, beginning this weekend, to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.


Members of various municipal police departments in the county, and investigators from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Fatal Crash Investigations Unit, will be randomly stationed at locations throughout the county to check for impaired drivers.


In past years, the sobriety checkpoints usually were set up for various holidays and during the prom and graduation season each spring, Prosecutor Kaplan noted.


This year, a $43,000 grant from the New Jersey Office of Highway Traffic Safety will enable police to establish the sobriety checkpoints at any time during the entire year, Prosecutor Kaplan said.


‘’Due to the dedicated efforts of our local police departments, the sobriety checkpoints have been very successful over the years in helping to curb driving by motorists who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs,’’ Prosecutor Kaplan said.


The sobriety checkpoints, first established in Middlesex County in 1985, seek to educate motorists about the dangers of impaired driving and encourage them to drive soberly.


‘’The purpose of the sobriety checkpoints is to remove intoxicated drivers from the road,’’ said Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Sewitch, who supervises the checkpoints.


‘’We also want to educate people to the dangers of drinking or using drugs and driving; to deter people from driving if they have become intoxicated, and to ensure the safety of the motoring public,’’ the assistant prosecutor said.


When motorists are stopped at the checkpoints, they are handed pamphlets outlining the consequences of impaired driving and are told that first-time offenders could lose their driving privileges for up to seven months and face a variety of fines, insurance surcharges and legal fees that could total as much as $15,000.


‘’ I applaud the work of the prosecutor and his staff and the proactive, multi-pronged approach they are taking to preventing impaired driving and the disastrous results that may follow,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Mildred S. Scott, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee. ‘’The safety of our drivers, their passengers and pedestrians remains paramount and we must take any and all avenues we can to prevent tragedy.’’


Last year, there were 42 fatal crashes in the county. Thirteen of those crashes involved alcohol or drugs, and eight of the crashes involved drivers between the ages of 17 and 21. The 42 fatal crashes is the lowest number recorded since the checkpoint program began.