State Police & Local Law Enforcement to Conduct DWI Enforcement Campaign beginning Friday, March 15 through Monday, March 18

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police and local law enforcement will conduct a special targeted enforcement detail this upcoming St. Patrick’s Day weekend to deter drinking and driving. The traffic enforcement detail, which is funded through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, begins on Friday, March 15, 2019, and runs through Monday, March 18, 2019. Drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols, underage drinking and sales to minors details during the campaign. State Police will also be ticketing distracted drivers who use handheld electronic devices. 

“If your plans for St. Patrick’s Day weekend include alcohol, please make the responsible decision and plan for a safe ride home,” Governor Cuomo said. “One bad decision can turn a celebration into a tragedy, and state and local law enforcement will be out in full force to keep our roadways safe.”

During the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day weekend enforcement effort, Troopers made 243 arrests for DWI and issued nearly 13,000 tickets.

State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “State Troopers will be out in force and highly visible this weekend, and as always, will have zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Make safety your number one priority, plan ahead now for a sober ride home, and don’t be a risk to yourself or others who are out on the roads.”

Mark J.F. Schroeder, Acting DMV Commissioner and Acting GTSC Chair, said “St. Patrick’s Day is a great chance to have fun with friends, but you don’t want to end that celebration with a crash, an arrest or by causing harm to yourself or others. Decide before you go out if you will get a taxi or rideshare, designate a driver, or stay overnight and then stick to that plan. A one-day celebration should not turn into a lifetime of heartbreak.”

The St. Patrick’s Day holiday period is one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the holiday period from 2013 to 2017 saw the loss of 234 lives due to drunk-driving crashes. 

In 2017 alone, 59 people (37% of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, 2017, three-fourths (75%) of crash fatalities nationwide involved a drunk driver.

Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people each year in our country. One person every 53 minutes dies of an alcohol related crash and every one of those deaths is preventable.

Choosing to drive drunk can ruin or end your life or someone else’s. This St. Patrick’s Day, if you drink and drive, you face jail time, the loss of your license, a higher insurance rate, and dozens of unanticipated expenses. An impaired driving charge carries a maximum fine of $10,000.

The New York State Police, GTSC and NHTSA ask you to commit to following these easy steps, so you can enjoy a safe holiday without jeopardizing lives on the road.

  • Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
  • Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ridesharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program
  • Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.  Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation “Have a Plan” mobile appis available for Apple, Droid and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties, and a way to report a suspected impaired driver.

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