State troopers and other law enforcement agencies are on the lookout.
Drivers shouldn’t need the governor to tell them this, but the sad fact is too many motorists don’t get the message about drinking and driving, even during the holidays.
So, New York will participate in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign to crack down on impaired driving this holiday season. Drivers can expect sobriety checkpoints and an increased number of troopers patrolling New York roadways — starting now and continuing through Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017.
Too often, impaired drivers cause accidents resulting in injury, death and heartbreak, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a prepared statement.
“Reckless driving is a crime and this national crackdown will help strengthen our law enforcement during one of the busiest times of the year to keep New Yorkers safe," Cuomo's statement reads. "I urge everyone to drive responsibly and remain vigilant on the roads this holiday season.”
During the crackdown campaign, troopers will be watching for distracted drivers, vehicle occupants who are not properly buckled up, and drivers violating the “Move Over Law,” which requires motorists to exercise extreme caution when passing emergency vehicles that are stopped in or on the side of the road. In addition to State Police, local law enforcement agencies will also be participating in this national crackdown.
Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and “Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement” vehicles. The CITE vehicles allow troopers to more easily identify motorists who are using handheld devices while driving. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic, but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
During last year’s crackdown, troopers issued more than 32,000 tickets, including more than 11,000 for speeding, 810 for distracted driving and 348 for the “Move Over Law.” Also, 477 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Still, six people died in crashes.
The 33 counties and 115 local law enforcement agencies that participated in the holiday crackdown last year made 134 DWI and/or driving while ability impaired arrests, 11 DWAI-Drug-only arrests, 99 other arrests and 1,570 vehicle and traffic summonses.
To keep our roads safe this holiday season, troopers and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer the following tips:
• Plan a safe way home before the celebrating begins.
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
• Use your community’s sober ride program.
• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement.
• If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
In addition, the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the state STOP-DWI Foundation collaborated on the “Have a Plan” mobile app, which 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 report a suspected impaired driver.
Lane Ranger is a weekly column that runs Saturdays in the Daily Messenger exploring answers and solutions to the road problems shared by our readers. If you have questions or observations or just wish to sound off on your commute, send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 585-337-4264.