Labor Day marks the end of summer and the start of fall. There are no more barbecues and no more summer festivals; everyone starts to prepare for the cool winter months. As one last summer hurrah, many people spend Labor Day with friends and family, relaxing and possibly enjoying a few drinks. Rockaway Township, New Jersey, however, is warning residents that it will be establishing sobriety checkpoints to find people driving while intoxicated (DWI).

The Rockaway Township police department is participating in a statewide program to aggressively seek out suspected drunk drivers. The department will send out numerous patrol cars to stop anyone that could possibly be impaired. It will also use sobriety checkpoints to ensure all motorists traveling a specific stretch of road are sober.

What makes this program especially intrusive, however, is that a motorist doesn’t even need to be over the 0.08 percent blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to be arrested. The drunk driving laws require you to have a BAC over 0.08 percent to be convicted. Anyone that has consumed alcohol, however, even very small amounts, can be arrested and convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Police claim that even miniscule amounts of alcohol will alter a motorist’s ability to drive.

With such overly-broad programs, it would be reasonable to assume that Rockaway Township has had several drunk driving-related fatalities. In fact, there have been no fatal drunk driving accidents in the Township since the beginning of the year. Not only that, but there have only been ten DWI arrests throughout the year. It is unclear if any of the motorists arrested were actually convicted on DWI charges.

As if the police campaign wasn’t enough, police are also strongly encouraging Township residents to contact police if they believe someone is drunk driving.

Source: NorthJersey.com, “They’re putting the brakes on drunk drivers,” Aug. 12, 2011