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Friday, March 13, 2015

The New York State Police will initiate special traffic enforcement efforts during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend — beginning today and running through Tuesday.

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 using handheld electronic devices.

“The New York State Police would like everyone to have fun this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but urge people to do it safely. If you plan on drinking please designate a sober driver. Impaired drivers can cause needless deaths and injuries. Together, we can keep New York State's roads among the safest in the nation,” said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico.

During the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day weekend enforcement effort, Troopers made 184 arrests for DWI and issued more than 11,000 tickets.

“A DUI conviction can weigh heavily on your pocketbook,” says Theresa Podguski, Director of Legislative Affairs for AAA. “But getting in your car after a night of drinking could cost you more than just money. It can result in lives lost,” she adds.

For too many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day has ended in tragedy due to drunk drivers getting behind the wheel. Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend from 2009 to 2013, there were a total of 276 lives lost in drunk driving crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AAA advises that motorists be on the watch for drunken drivers and always plan ahead by designating a sober driver even before you’ve had one too many.  You can avoid a DUI arrest by keeping these safety tips in mind:

  • If you suspect a driver is under the influence, stay as far behind their vehicle as possible. Do not pass the driver because you will limit your options for defensive driving maneuvers. As soon as it’s safe for you to do so, call 911
  • Commit to never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • As a party host, offer non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers, and if possible, provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking
  • Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink
  • Make transportation arrangements before you head out for the night. These include designating a driver, using public transportation, calling a taxi or staying overnight at your location
  • Since you can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, the best protection is to buckle up every time you get into a vehicle
  • Driving is a privilege that many Americans enjoy. Consuming alcoholic beverages is also something that many adults take part in. However, these two activities do not go together and should never be combined. If you are driving, don’t drink. And if you are drinking, don’t drive.

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