More than 47,000 vehicle & traffic law violation tickets issued during last year's campaign
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced state and local law enforcement agencies across New York will be stepping up patrols and targeting impaired driving before, during and after St. Patrick's Day. The enforcement campaign will run from Wednesday, March 16, through Sunday, March 20. This safety initiative is designed to reduce alcohol and drug-related traffic crashes and save lives. It is sponsored by STOP-DWI with funding from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC).
"We all love celebrating St. Patrick's Day with family and friends, so make sure you're celebrating safely this year," Hochul said. "I encourage all New Yorkers to plan for a safe ride home, so you can enjoy your celebration without endangering yourself and others."
During the 2021 campaign, law enforcement throughout the state issued 47,349 tickets for vehicle and traffic law violations, including 1,403 arrests for DWI.
New York DMV Commissioner and GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "St. Patrick's Day celebrations should be joyous and fun. Don't let that be ruined by making the reckless decision to drive impaired. Impaired driving puts you and all those sharing the road in danger. Always have a plan to get home safely."
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "The State Police urges everyone to have a plan this St. Patrick's Day. There is nothing wrong with celebrating, as long as you do so responsibly. If you are drinking, don't get behind the wheel – plan ahead and make arrangements for a safe ride home. There's simply no excuse to get behind the wheel if you're impaired. One day of celebrating can quickly turn to tragedy because of impaired driving."
Chief of Ilion PD and President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police Timothy Parisi said, "Chiefs of police across the state are reminding motorists to plan ahead to use alternate means of transportation if consuming alcohol will be part of your St. Patrick's Day celebration. Bad decisions can cause tragic consequences! Help us keep our roadways safe, please drive sober."
Livingston County Sheriff and President of the New York State Sheriffs' Association Thomas Dougherty said, "If you drive impaired, the luck of the Irish will not be with you. The sheriffs of New York state want you to enjoy St. Patrick's Day and the return of nice weather, but do so with a plan to not drive impaired. Deputies will be ready to remove impaired drivers from the road and keep all travelers safe."
The STOP-DWI program is a major component of New York's efforts to combat impaired driving. STOP-DWI stands for "special traffic options program for driving while intoxicated." The program's efforts are funded from fines paid by convicted impaired drivers. Importantly, the program's coordinators are comprised of diverse professional backgrounds, including law enforcement and non-law enforcement.
Under GTSC oversight, STOP-DWI was created to empower counties to coordinate local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related traffic crashes. All 62 counties have opted to participate. Some examples of programs that STOP-DWI funds include specially trained police units dedicated to DWI enforcement, hiring of special prosecutors and probation officers to handle the caseload, monitoring ignition interlock devices, supporting rehabilitation services, and developing public information and education campaigns tailored to communities within their respective regions. To learn more, visit http://www.stopdwi.org/.
In addition to STOP-DWI, the GTSC supports training for drug recognition experts. DREs are specially trained officers utilized by law enforcement when a driver appears to be impaired, but police have ruled out alcohol as the cause or sole cause of impairment. A DRE receives extensive training that has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The training allows officers to observe and document signs and indicators of impairment within each of seven drug categories, including illicit and prescription drugs.
The GTSC also coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle safety. The GTSC sponsors critical training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide.
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state's toll-free, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS treatment availability dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the NYS OASAS website.
For more information about GTSC, visit https://trafficsafety.ny.gov/, or follow the GTSC conversation at Facebook and Twitter. For more information about DMV, visit dmv.ny.gov, or follow the DMV conversation online at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.