- Impaired driving continues to be a top cause of preventable death in the United States. Alcohol and drug related accidents continue to be a major problem on New Jersey's roadways and Middlesex's alike.
- Middlesex County's goal is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents by promoting safe driving through alcohol and drug awareness programs.
Middlesex County Crashes Involving Alcohol
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Prevention and not arrest is the goal of this campaign. Local police departments have adopted this strategy to deliver a message to the motoring public that the risk of being caught is too high, in hopes that behaviors will change. The "Drive Sober or get Pulled Over
" campaign has already influenced thousands of citizens nationwide, including in Middlesex County, not to drink and drive.
3D - Don’t Drive Dangerously Public Service Announcement
In the year 2000, Middlesex County Freeholder James Polos created a program called the "Middlesex County Don't Drink and Drive PSA Video Contest", with the goal of reducing alcohol-related fatalities among teens. The contest was initiated to engage high school students throughout Middlesex County to work in teams to create video and audio public service announcements advertising the dangers of rinking and driving. The program has expanded over the years to address all types of dangerous driving to include drugged driving and distracted driving. The program is now known as 3D PSA "Don't Drive Dangerously" Contest.
High school students produce 60-second videos and 30 second audio PSAs, which are judged by a team of public safety and creative production specialists from allied agencies to include: Robert Wood Johnson-Barnabas Health, The Wellspring Center for Prevention, and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety
(NJDHTS). The program culminates with an Award’s Day/Traffic Safety symposium in the Spring for all participants to coincide with high school prom season.
The program has expanded over the years and now the County partners with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, NCADD, Rutgers University Alcohol Studies and NJHTS. High school students are asked to produce 30-second videos and audio PSAs, which are judged by a team of public safety and creative production specialists from around the State. This year the initiative was expanded to include distracted driving, specifically texting and cell phone use. The program is now known as 3D PSA "Don't Drive Dangerously" Contest.
Watch 16th Annual PSA "Don't Drive Dangerously" program video:
The Driver Response Impaired Vision Exercise (D.R.I.V.E) program enlightens students to the pitfalls of driving while under the influence through the use of fatal vision goggles that mimics the effects of being intoxicated. Through physical application, students are able to realize the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
Middlesex County's Driver Response Impaired Vision Exercise (D.R.I.V.E.) program was created by Freeholder H. James Polos. This unique program utilizes golf carts and sight-impairing fatal vision goggles to create a hands-on impaired driving experience for the driver. Polos designed a course utilizing road cones, safety barriers and traffic signs that can be set up in parking lot areas of high schools.
New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Seat Belts have been proven to be a major factor in improving survivability and reducing severity in motor vehicle crashes. They are also the best defense occupants have against an impaired driver. Middlesex County's seat belt usage declined from 2008 to 2009 according to the "National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS)" conducted in August 2009 (National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Click It Or Ticket: Click It or Ticket is a highly publicized law enforcement effort that gives people more of a reason to buckle up: the increased threat of a traffic ticket. Most people buckle up for safety, but for some people, it is the threat of the ticket that spurs them to put on a safety belt. In Click It Or Ticket programs, law enforcement agencies are asked to focus on safety belt violations and publicize the stepped-up effort through news media and advertising.
Click It Or Ticket campaigns and similar efforts have increased safety belt use in cities, states and even in an entire region of the country In New Jersey, 419 police agencies participated in the May 2011 Click It or Ticket Enforcement Mobilization. According to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, as a result of the enforcement and public information efforts, New Jersey's seat belt usage has risen to an all-time high of 94.51%.
What is Distracted Driving?
There are three main types of distraction: visual, manual, and cognitive.
- Visual refers to removing your eyes from the road.
- Manual refers to actions that remove your hands from the wheel of the vehicle.
- Cognitive refers to any instance in which your mind is not focused on driving.
While all distractions can endanger a driver's safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distractions.
Other Distractions Include
- Using a cell phone
- Eating and Drinking
- Using a PDA or GPS
- Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player
- Talking to passengers
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