13 is an unlucky number for those drinking and driving in Mendham Township.
More than halfway through their second Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign of the year, the Mendham Township Police saw their DWI arrest totals jump from 73 to 86.
"Even though we put the message out there, people still have a tendency to drink and drive over the holidays," said Mendham Township Lt. Vito Abrusci. "And we have a zero tolerance policy."
The current campaign began on Dec. 7 and is running through Jan. 2. According to Abrusci, the grant awarded to Mendham has allowed them to increase road patrols during the holidays.
"Our patrols are highly trained," said Abrusci, a drug recognition expert. "And we have a high rate of success for a department of 14 officers with no major highways to patrol."
Abrusci said that although they were close to the Morristown area not all of the stops were made on Route 24 and bars and businesses weren't always a factor.
"We aren't seeing people coming from the Black Horse Inn or from Sammy's," Abrusci said. "We are seeing people coming from private residences and holiday parties."
Abrusci hopes the number stays at 86 between now and 2013, but said that it seems some people aren't getting the message despite all their efforts.
"We try to get the message out there as well as all of the other groups that deal with the reality of drinking and driving, like MADD," Abrusci said. "A drunk driver or a drugged driver represents a significant risk on the road. And we are going to do our best to stop them."
Those who don't take them seriously run the risk of being number 87, Abrusci said.