SUSSEX COUNTY-From Aug. 19 to Sept. 5, law enforcement officers will be stepping up impaired driving enforcement as part of the "You Drink and Drive, You Lose," a national crackdown. The end of the summer season is traditionally a time of social gatherings, which often include alcohol. The goal of the program is to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, through high-visibility enforcement, and to arrest motorists who choose to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Impaired drivers kill nearly 18,000 people on our nation's roads each year. In New Jersey, 39 percent of motor vehicle fatalities are alcohol-related. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 97 percent of Americans view drinking and driving by others as a threat to their families and themselves. Indeed, Americans support tougher enforcement and rank drunk driving ahead of healthcare, poverty, the environment and gun control, as an important social issue. Law enforcement agencies participating in the "You Drink and Drive, You Lose" campaign offer the following advice: ?Be responsible and don't risk it
you will be caught. ? If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out. ?Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home. ? Spend the night where the activity is held. ?Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. ? Always buckle up; it's your best defense against an impaired driver. "The summer season is a time for fun with friends and family, not tragedy," said Roberto Rodriguez, director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. "The law enforcement community of the state is committed to eradicating impaired driving from our roads."