New York (STL.News) New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New York State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols to crack down on impaired driving and underage drinking through Halloween. This special enforcement campaign runs from Friday, October 25, through Friday, November 1, 2019.
“With this increased enforcement campaign, our goal is to help ensure New Yorkers have a fun and safe Halloween,” Governor Cuomo said. “We have zero tolerance for impaired driving, and if your Halloween celebrations include alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home with a sober driver. Those who take the risk and drive impaired will be caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “Troopers will be highly visible and on the lookout for impaired and reckless drivers starting this weekend through Halloween. Our message is simple: Never drink and drive. Troopers will be out in force to ticket and arrest those who threaten the safety of our roadways and endanger the lives of those who travel them.”
Commissioner of the State Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “Halloween is meant to be a time of fun but can quickly turn tragic when drivers make the senseless choice to get behind the wheel when they are impaired. I urge all New Yorkers to celebrate responsibly, use extra caution and be on alert for pedestrians.”
Motorists can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols during this period. Law enforcement will also be looking for motorists who are using their phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Drivers should also remember to “move over” for emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road. State Police will also be targeting the illegal sale of alcohol to minors through underage drinker enforcement details statewide.
Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles as part of this crackdown in order to more easily identify motorists who are violating the law. CITE vehicles allow the Trooper to better observe driving violations. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
Halloween night can be an especially dangerous due to the high number of children and families out trick-or-treating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from 2013 to 2017, 158 people were killed nationwide in impaired driving fatalities on Halloween night. According to NHTSA, 42 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween night involved impaired drivers.
During last year’s initiative, State Police investigated 1,778 motor vehicle crashes, resulting in 251 injuries and three fatalities. Troopers also arrested 266 people for DWI and issued 16,690 total tickets for all violations, including speeding, distracted driving and other traffic violations.
The Halloween impaired driving enforcement initiative is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their “Have a Plan” mobile app, is available for Apple, Android and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi or rideshare service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties, and provides a way to report a suspected impaired driver.
If you drive drunk or drugged, you not only put your life and the lives of others at risk, you could face arrest, jail time, and substantial fines and attorney fees. The average drinking and driving arrest costs up to $10,000. Arrested drunk and drugged drivers face the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, fines and court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost time at work.
The New York State Police, GTSC and NHTSA recommend these simple tips to prevent impaired driving:
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ride sharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
- Use your community’s sober ride program;
- If you suspect a driver is drunk or impaired on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement;
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.