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State Police crackdown on impaired & reckless driving over Thanksgiving weekend

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Wed, Nov 25th 2020 12:25 pm

State Police issued nearly 14,000 tickets, arrested 212 for DWI statewide during last year's enforcement

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will participate in a special traffic enforcement initiative to crack down on unsafe driving behaviors during the Thanksgiving holiday. The special traffic enforcement period starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

"While we expect lower traffic volumes this year due to New Yorkers taking COVID-19 precautions and limiting large gatherings, we must still ensure that those who do travel, get to their destination safely," Cuomo said. "State Troopers and local law enforcement will be out in force working to prevent needless crashes caused by those who get behind the wheel while impaired. I urge drivers to follow the law and make safety your top priority while out on the roads"

The State Police will supplement regular patrols statewide with fixed sobriety checkpoints, underage drinking enforcement, and the "Operation Hang Up" initiative, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing concealed identity traffic enforcement (CITE) patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on handheld devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with everyday traffic, but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once emergency lighting is activated.

Elevated traffic volumes typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption increases. During the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 212 drivers for DWI, issued 5,168 speeding tickets and 634 tickets for distracted driving. To discourage impaired driving, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) and its partners will be participating in a nationwide social media blitz using the hashtag #BoycottBlackoutWednesday.

Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "Throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, troopers will be highly visible and on the lookout for impaired and reckless drivers. Make safety your top priority – follow posted speed limits, make sure everyone is buckled up, put down your smart phones, and don't get behind the wheel if you are impaired. Planning ahead for a safe ride home is always the best choice.

GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J. F. Schroeder said, "It is up to all of us to prevent impaired driving tragedies this holiday season, so I urge everyone to do your part to make sure our roads are safe. Be responsible, have a plan, and don't let loved ones drive drunk or drugged, and together we can protect everyone on the roads. It's that simple."

The Thanksgiving impaired driving enforcement initiative is funded by the GTSC. It and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists the "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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend these simple tips to prevent impaired driving:

√ Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.

√ Before drinking, designate a sober driver.

√ If impaired, use a taxi or ride-sharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

√ Use the community's sober ride program.

√ If one suspects a driver is drunk or impaired on the road, don't hesitate to contact local law enforcement.

√ If one knows 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.

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