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Friday, March 11, 2016

New York State Police and local law enforcement will initiate special St. Patrick’s Day traffic enforcement efforts as celebrations begin this weekend. The effort will begin on Saturday, March 12 and run through Thursday, March 17. During this time, drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols, and underage drinking and sales to minors details during the campaign. State Police will also be ticketing distracted drivers who use handheld electronic devices.

"State Police and local law enforcement will be out in full force over the coming days to help ensure a safe holiday," Governor Cuomo said. "This state has zero tolerance for reckless and impaired driving and I encourage all New Yorkers to celebrate responsibly in order to help prevent senseless tragedies."

During the 2015 St. Patrick's Day weekend enforcement effort, Troopers made 264 arrests for DWI and issued more than 14,000 tickets.

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said, "The State Police urge everyone to have a plan this St. Patrick’s Day. If you plan on drinking, designate a sober driver. A day of celebrating can quickly turn to tragedy because of impaired driving. Help us to keep New York' roads the safest in the nation by planning ahead to stay safe." 

Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Acting Chair and Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, "Motorists don’t just risk their own lives when they drive drunk or impaired – they put everyone on the road in danger, including those walking and biking. We thank our law enforcement partners for remaining vigilant in the fight against drunk and impaired driving, and urge New Yorkers to do their part to ensure everyone is safe on the roads this St. Patrick’s Day."

St. Patrick's Day is one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2010 to 2014 saw the loss of 266 lives nationally due to drunk-driving crashes. In 2014, alone, 29 people (28 percent of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunk-driving crashes over this period. 

Choosing to drive drunk can ruin or end the life of the driver and others around them. Those who do face jail time, the loss of a driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of unanticipated expenses. An impaired driving charge carries a maximum fine of $10,000.

The New York State Police, Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the following these steps for enjoying 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, 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.
This effort is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

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