Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the New York State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols to crackdown on impaired driving and underage drinking through Halloween. This special enforcement campaign runs from Friday, Oct. 30, until noon on Sunday, Nov. 1.
"While we are encouraging everyone to celebrate Halloween safely and responsibly during this pandemic, we must continue to protect against the needless accidents and preventable tragedies from impaired driving," Cuomo said. "The message is simple: Impaired drivers will be caught and will be held accountable; and I urge anyone who is not fit to get behind the wheel to make other arrangements during this holiday."
State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "State Troopers will be highly visible throughout Halloween weekend looking for impaired and reckless drivers. Children and parents will be out walking, and drivers need to exercise extreme caution. Make safety your top priority and don't get behind the wheel if you've been drinking."
DMV Commissioner and chairman of the governor's traffic safety committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "The governor's traffic safety committee proudly supports this enforcement campaign that will help get impaired drivers off the road. Halloween should be a fun time for all those participating – don't turn it into a tragic event by making the reckless decision to drive impaired. Have a plan to get home safely and watch for pedestrians."
Motorists can expect to encounter 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 stopped emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and concealed identity traffic enforcement (CITE) 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 every day traffic, but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
Halloween night can be especially dangerous due to the high number of children and families out trick-or-treating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, from 2014-18, 145 people were killed nationwide in impaired driving fatalities on Halloween night. According to NHTSA, 41% of the motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween night involved impaired drivers.
During last year's initiative, State Troopers arrested 280 people for impaired driving and issued 21,467 total tickets. Troopers also investigated 2,092 crashes, which resulted in three fatalities and 269 people injured.
State Police will also be targeting the illegal sale of alcohol to minors through underage drinker enforcement details statewide.
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.
A press release said, “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; and
√ 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.