With a staggering number of annual DUI arrests, in New Jersey, as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle-related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle-related deaths every year.

The NJ Department of Transportation and Highway Safety publishes statistics for the “Get Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Here are some interesting stats:

  • From August through September 2015, 1304 DUIs for alcohol were reported, while the number of DUIs for drugs was 482. This is only for a period of about a month. The published stats for the same time period in 2016 were: 1522 DUIs for alcohol, with only 127 DUIs for drugs. As you can see, there was a marked increase in DUIs for alcohol, while there was a drastic dip in those for drugs.
  • The average number of people arrested annually for drunk driving is 1,500,000. In 2015, in New Jersey alone, there were 24,313.
  • The number of DUI arrests per 100,000 drivers in any state annually is 1,250
  • New Jersey falls somewhere in the middle regarding number of DUI arrests annually; Wyoming leads the list with the most and the District of Columbia and Delaware having the least.
  • Camden City saw the most DWIs issued in 2016 in any one town in New Jersey, with 449. That figure is actually a sharp decrease from the previous year, when police issued 661 DWIs.
  • Driving while intoxicated was listed as a contributing factor in 118 out of 522 fatal car crashes (22 percent) in New Jersey in 2015.

According to https://www.cdc.gov, about one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, which is considered “alcohol-impaired” by law.

In 2007:

  • 25,031 arrested in New Jersey for drunk driving / DUI (Driving under the Influence)
  • 183 fatal accidents in New Jersey where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.08% or above
  • 201 people were killed in New Jersey in accidents where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.08% or above
  • 55 people were killed in New Jersey in accidents where at least one driver had a BAC between 0.01% and 0.07%
  • 256 total deaths caused in New Jersey where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.01%

The INTOXICATED DRIVING PROGRAM 2013 STATISTICAL SUMMARY REPORT gives us the latest statistics available in New Jersey. Annual DUI arrests by county in 2012 were:

Warren 379
Union 1383
Sussex 522
Somerset 839
Salem 330
Passaic 1215
Ocean 1901
Morris 1749
Monmouth 2386
Middlesex 2123
Mercer 1212
Hunterdon 558
Hudson 729
Gloucester 1017
Essex 1081
Cumberland 827
Cape May 664
Camden 1623
Burlington 1678
Bergen 2392
Atlantic 1677

Thanks to dedicated efforts, rates of drunk driving and alcohol-involved fatal crashes have gone down in recent years. Still, drunk drivers get behind the wheel millions of times every year and state officials are coming down harder on drunk drivers, especially repeat offenders.

Ignition interlock devices (car breathalyzers) installed in cars are one way to ensure you don’t get a second DUI. By measuring alcohol on the driver’s breath, Interlocks keep the car from starting if the driver has a BAC above a certain level, usually 0.02%. They’re used for people convicted of drunk driving and are highly effective at preventing repeat offenses while installed. Mandating interlocks for all offenders, including first-time offenders, will have the greatest impact on lowering these sobering statistics on drunk driving.