Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said police have seen an increase in drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol this year.
The unofficial end of a heavy tourist season was marked by a drunk driving checkpoint off Route 37 in Toms River on Labor Day weekend, but police said the summer was notable for the number of driving under the influence arrests.
Saturday into Sunday, a drunk driving check point was conducted by police on Route 37, resulting in traffic delays into Seaside Heights over the bridge. The check points are conducted by local police as well as the county.
"The department will continue to aggressively enforce laws pertaining to driving under the influence," said Mastronardy.
The police chief said Toms River Police now has four officers specially trained to recognize drivers who might be under the influence of alcohol versus drugs. Many times, the traffic safety officers are involved.
"With the increase in drivers under the influence of drugs the Department has four Officers trained as DRE Drug Recognition Experts," he said. "The Traffic Safety unit will be conducting various programs including marked and unmarked roving patrols."
Mastronardy released information on several recent arrests made Aug. 24 involving driving under the influence. The police chief said in some cases witnesses called in to police after observing erratic driving.
"Citizens called Toms River Police communications and advised of drivers possibly being under the influence," he said. "The Department has observed a dramatic increase in the number of reports from the public advising of erratic or possible drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol."
In 2011 for the year, 198 arrests were made for driving under the influence. With the fall the winter months left of 2012, there have been 137 arrests so far this year, said Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.