Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday announced that New York State Police and local law enforcement statewide will increase patrols to combat drunk, impaired and reckless driving throughout Memorial Day weekend. The STOP-DWI enforcement period starts on Friday and runs through Monday.
Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year and police will be out in force to remove impaired and reckless drivers from highways.
"Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer travel season, meaning more traffic and the potential for dangerous driving on highways," Governor Cuomo said. "As State Police and local law enforcement step up their efforts to crack down on impaired and reckless driving this weekend, I am urging all motorists to drive responsibly, don't get behind the wheel if you have been drinking, and plan ahead for a sober ride home."
State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "As we take time this Memorial Day Weekend to honor those who died in service to our county, we encourage all motorists to make safety the number one priority. Drive sober, put down your smart phone, and slow down and move over if you see emergency vehicles or highway workers on the side of the road. If your holiday plans include alcohol, make arrangements for a safe ride home. State Troopers will be highly visible this weekend, and will have zero tolerance for impaired, reckless and distracted drivers."
Drivers can expect to see sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols by State Police and local law enforcement agencies during this holiday weekend. 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.
On Memorial Day weekend in 2018, Troopers arrested 237 people for drinking and driving, issued 13,318 total tickets, and investigated 154 personal injury crashes, which resulted in eight fatalities. In addition to the New York State Police, numerous counties and agencies throughout the state also participated in last year's Memorial Day Crackdown.
According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) at the University at Albany, drunk driving killed 252 people and injured 5,647 others in New York State during 2017. Another 205 people were killed in drug-related crashes.
"Above all this Memorial Day, we join the nation in saluting the brave men and women who have laid down their lives protecting our rights and defending our freedom," said Mark J.F. Schroeder, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. "As many pause for somber remembrances this weekend, many more will hit the road as the busy travel season begins. We want New Yorkers to reach their destinations safely, so we are urging drivers to make sure their vehicles are ready for travel and remember to drive safely, too. Don't drink and drive, put down the phone and avoid distractions. If you have children, make sure they are properly secured in the right seat for their ages and sizes. Remember to be alert and share the road with bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Wherever your travels lead you, be safe and enjoy New York's incredible scenery along the way."
This initiative is partially funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their "Have a Plan" mobile app is available for Apple, Droid and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties, and a way to even report a suspected impaired driver.