‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ statewide measures to stop impaired driving
√ Launches new impaired-driving PSA; initiatives to promote safe driving messages in bars & restaurants statewide
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday issued a proclamation designating December as STOP-DWI Month, and announced a series of targeted initiatives to prevent impaired driving across the state. Throughout December, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee will launch a new anti-drinking and driving public service announcement. GTSC will also launch a $1 million “Don't Drive High” public awareness campaign, which will use funding from the New York State Office of Cannabis Management.
"New York has zero tolerance for impaired driving, a reckless decision that puts everyone sharing the road in danger," Hochul said. "It's simple: Celebrate and drive responsibly, or have a plan in place to get home safely. My administration will continue to crack down on reckless driving to protect New Yorkers on the road."
Along with its partners at the New York State Restaurant Association and Empire State Tavern Association, GTSC will work to distribute stickers with safe driving messaging to be used on to-go drinks at bars and restaurants statewide, and GTSC has placed safe driving messages on electronic juke boxes to encourage responsible driving. GTSC and STOP-DWI will also sponsor the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving enforcement campaign from Dec. 15 to Jan. 1. During that time, law enforcement officers statewide will be stepping up patrols.
The campaign kicked off at McGeary's Irish Pub in Albany, where GTSC and New York State Department of Motor Vehicles officials were joined by the New York State Police, New York State Office of Cannabis Management, New York State Liquor Authority, New York State STOP-DWI Foundation, Albany County Sheriff's Office, Albany City Police Department, New York State Restaurant Association and Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.
Hochul’s team said, “These latest measures to eradicate impaired driving in New York build upon the state's ongoing efforts to address this issue. Together with the State Liquor Authority, State Police, and local law enforcement, the DMV oversees ‘Operation Prevent,’ an enforcement initiative that helps prevent underage drinking and the sale of alcohol to minors. ‘Operation Prevent’ details are conducted at bars, restaurants and concert venues throughout the year. This summer alone, 580 fake IDs were seized, a total of 505 tickets were issued for attempting to use fake IDs to purchase alcohol, and another 46 tickets were issued for violations of the Alcohol Beverage and Control Law.
“In addition, the GTSC supports training for drug recognition experts. DREs are called 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. As of October, there were 411 DREs across the state.
“Another major component of New York's efforts to combat impaired driving is the STOP-DWI program. STOP-DWI stands for ‘Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated.’ The state's STOP-DWI program is 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.
“The STOP-DWI program 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 funded by STOP-DWI are dedicating specially trained police units to DWI enforcement, hiring 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 stopdwi.org/.
New York State DMV Commissioner and Chair of the GTSC Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "The mission of the governor's Traffic Safety Committee is to save lives and keep New Yorkers safe on our roadways. We proudly support these enforcement campaigns, along with our law enforcement and STOP-DWI officials, and thank them for their commitment to combatting impaired driving."
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, "A common threat on our roads – and one we continually fight – is impaired and drunk driving. As motorists drive throughout the state to see their family and friends this holiday season, we encourage them to make safe driving practices their priority. The New York State Police proudly joins our law enforcement partners in the continued effort to discourage, detect and apprehend impaired and drunk drivers."
New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "The SLA is proud to serve as a member of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and play a role in the tremendous effort being made in reducing roadway fatalities by raising awareness of the dangers of underage drinking and impaired driving. We are delighted to join in this statewide campaign with our partners in law enforcement and with restaurant and bar owners from across the state who go above and beyond to operate their businesses safely and conscientiously."
New York State Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Christopher Alexander said, "It's critical that New Yorkers understand the risks of driving while high, and we're proud to help support the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee in delivering this much-needed education. Simply put: If you feel different, you drive different; and you should not get behind the wheel and put yourself and others at risk."
STOP-DWI Association Western Region Chair Lindsay Tomidy said, "As a child, I experienced the trauma of losing my brother when he made the unfortunate choice to drive impaired. I know firsthand the extreme importance of bringing awareness to this preventable crime to work towards zero victims. STOP-DWI NY is excited to partner with likeminded associations on the alcohol to go labels! We have a mutual interest in both the success of business and traffic safety on our roadways, so we look forward to continuing this work together."
Ossining Police Department and President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police Chief Kevin Sylvester said, "Chiefs of Police across the state are reminding motorists to plan ahead for alternate means of transportation if alcohol will be part of your holiday season celebrations. The potential tragic consequences are avoidable. If you're drinking, please don't drive."
Livingston County Sheriff and President of the New York State Sheriffs' Association Thomas Dougherty said, "Impaired driving is deadly driving. It is a choice that can hurt you, your passengers, and other people on the road. The sheriffs of New York state want you to enjoy the holidays, but always have a plan to not drive impaired."
President and CEO of New York State Restaurant Association Melissa Fleischut said, "Festive drinks are on the menu and holiday parties are filling the calendar, but the merriment cannot distract from the importance of getting home safely. With a multitude of options for a safe ride home, we want everyone to celebrate responsibly. The New York State Restaurant Association and our members stand with the Governor's Traffic Committee and support STOP-DWI."
Executive Director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association Scott Wexler said, "We're excited to participate in this partnership with the STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. Offering customers the option to add a drink to their take-out orders has been a popular and economically beneficial addition to restaurant menus, but it hasn't diminished our commitment responsible alcohol consumption. This effort serves to remind all that impaired driving remains a public safety concern and that the drinks-to-go privilege comes with the duty to consume responsibly."