Accident statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that over 1,800 lives were lost on the roads of New Jersey between 2003 and 2012 in alcohol-related crashes, and about a third of all fatal accidents nationwide involve a drunk driver. Drinking and driving is a social issue as well as a criminal problem, and authorities have approached the matter with a combination of emotive media campaigns and coordinated law enforcement efforts.
Many people associate efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving with television campaigns featuring graphic images of mangled cars and interviews with people who have lost loved ones in drunk driving accidents. Less visible efforts to reduce drunk driving include alcohol screening conducted at health care facilities and colleges and school initiatives designed to reduce alcohol consumption among teens.
Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey are serious about drunk driving, and sobriety checkpoints have become a familiar sight on the state's roads. Any drivers found to have a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or above often face sanctions including fines, jail time and mandatory driver's license suspensions. Drunk drivers may also be required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. A vehicle with one of these devices installed will not start when alcohol is detected in the driver's breath.
Drunk drivers may sometimes face civil sanctions in addition to severe criminal penalties. A personal injury attorney could file a lawsuit against a drunk driver on behalf of those who have suffered injury, loss or damage in an alcohol-related crash. This goal of this kind of litigation is to hold drunk drivers financially responsible for their negligent behavior by seeking compensation from them for the property damage, medical costs and lost income of accident victims.