The New York State Police and local law enforcement will conduct special enforcement efforts designed to deter drinking and driving during St. Patrick's Day weekend.
The traffic enforcement detail, which is funded through the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, began Friday, March 16 and runs through Sunday, March 18.
Drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols, and stings targeting underage drinking and illegal sales of alcohol to minors during the campaign. State Police will also be ticketing distracted drivers who use handheld electronic devices.
During the 2017 St. Patrick's Day weekend enforcement effort, troopers made 229 arrests for DWI and issued nearly 15,000 tickets. In addition, local law enforcement agencies, encompassing 32 counties and 124 agencies participated in the 2017 St. Patrick's Day crackdown, which resulted in 65 DWI/DWAI arrests, 3 DWAI-Drug only arrests, 76 other arrests, and 972 vehicle and traffic summonses.
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "State Troopers and local law enforcement will be highly visible throughout the weekend, enforcing New York's DWI and distracted driving laws. If you drink and drive, there will be serious consequences. Don't take chances - we urge New Yorkers to plan ahead and guarantee themselves a safe trip home."
St. Patrick's Day is one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The St. Patrick's Day holiday period from 2012 to 2016 saw the loss of 269 lives due to drunk-driving crashes.
In 2016, 60 people, 39 percent of all crash fatalities, were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick's Day holiday period. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, 2016, 69 percent of crash fatalities nationwide involved a drunk driver.
Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people each year in our country. One person every 53 minutes dies of an alcohol-related crash and every one of those deaths is preventable.
Choosing to drive drunk can ruin or end your or someone else's life. This St. Patrick's Day, if you drink and drive, you face jail time, the loss of your license, a higher insurance rate, and dozens of unanticipated expenses. An impaired driving charge carries a maximum fine of $10,000.
The New York State Police, Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ask you to commit to following these easy steps so you can enjoy a safe holiday without jeopardizing lives on the road:
- Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night—designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
- If you're impaired, use a taxi or ridesharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
- If available, use your community's sober ride program.
- Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving--designate a sober friend to walk you home.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.
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