State police and local law enforcement will initiate special traffic enforcement efforts as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations get underway starting this weekend. The effort will begin March 15 and run through Monday, March 18, 2019.
Drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols, underage drinking details and sales to minors during the campaign. State police will also be ticketing distracted drivers who use handheld electronic devices.
“Troopers will be out in force and highly visible this weekend, and as always, will have zero tolerance for drinking and driving,” said state police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said. “Make safety your number one priority, plan ahead now for a sober ride home, and don’t be a risk to yourself or others who are out on the roads.”
During the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day weekend enforcement effort, Troopers made 243 arrests for DWI and issued nearly 13,000 tickets.
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 2013 to 2017 saw the loss of 234 lives due to drunk-driving crashes.
In 2017 alone, 59 people (37 percent of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunken-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, 2017, three-fourths (75 percent) of crash fatalities nationwide involved a drunken driver.
Drunken 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 fines as much as $10,000.
This enforcement campaign is funded through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
State police, GTSC and NHTSA 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.
- Before you start drinking, 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 drunken driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.
The GTSC and the state STOP-DWI Foundation “Have a Plan” mobile app, is available for Apple, Droid and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties and a way to report a suspected impaired driver.