Tuesday, March 9
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Governor Cuomo Announces Impaired Driving Crackdown During Holiday Season

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that state and local law enforcement agencies throughout New York will be stepping up patrols to crack down on impaired driving during the holiday travel season. The enforcement campaign will run through Friday, January 1. This crackdown is part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative designed to reduce alcohol and drug-related traffic crashes. It is sponsored by STOP-DWI with funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

“New York has zero tolerance for impaired driving,” Governor Cuomo said. “Motorists who drive under the influence not only put themselves at risk, but endanger the lives of everyone else. Be safe and smart this holiday season, whether you’re on the road or not. If you must travel, drive sober or have a plan in place to get where you’re going safely.”

During the 2019 enforcement campaign, law enforcement throughout the state arrested 5,677 people for impaired driving. In total, 159,133 tickets were issued for vehicle and traffic law violations.

DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is proud to support these initiatives that help get impaired drivers off New York’s roads. I thank our law enforcement and STOP-DWI officials for their work in making holiday travel safer for everyone. It’s simple, have a plan to get home safely.”

NYS STOP-DWI Foundation Chairman Reginald Crowley said, “Every year, too many lives are ruined by impaired driving. Make sure you have a safe ride home.”

State Police Acting Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “As we celebrate the holiday season, we want to remind motorists to celebrate safely. If plans include alcohol, please plan ahead for a safe ride home. Driving impaired is a choice that can have serious, and sometimes deadly, consequences. The public’s safety is our top priority. As always, our Troopers will be highly visible and will have zero tolerance for impaired, reckless and distracted drivers.”

NYS Association of Chiefs of Police President Chief Patrick D. Phelan said, “I encourage all of our association members to actively participate in this critically important statewide high visibility enforcement campaign. We share a unified goal in partnership with local, county and state law enforcement personnel to detect and remove impaired drivers from our roadways and to make them as safe as possible during this holiday season.”

Washington County Sheriff and NYS Sheriffs’ Association President Jeffrey Murphy said, “The Sheriffs of New York State know many things will be different this holiday season but one thing remains the sameour dedication to keeping people safe on our roads. Impaired driving is unnecessary, dangerous, and illegal. Enjoy the holidays and have a plan to not drive impaired.”

A 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 the nation’s first self-sustaining impaired driving program. The program’s efforts are 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: specially trained police units dedicated to DWI enforcement, hiring of 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 http://www.stopdwi.org/.

In addition to STOP-DWI, the GTSC supports training for Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). DREs are specially trained officers utilized by law enforcement 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.


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