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NY had fewest traffic fatalities in recorded history in 2014

Posted 16 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State will begin a statewide multi-media campaign using billboards, radio, television and social media to remind motorists about the deadly impacts of impaired driving.

The campaign, funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, builds on the state’s ongoing efforts to combat impaired driving and reduce the number of traffic fatalities.

“Drinking and driving has no place on New York roadways and our administration has made it a priority to crack down on this irresponsible and dangerous behavior,” Governor Cuomo said. “We saw a record low number of DWI-related deaths last year and with this campaign we are seeking to build on this success, prevent more impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel, and further avoid preventable tragedies.”

Preliminary data shows that New York State recorded 1,037 traffic fatalities in 2014, which was the lowest number of traffic fatalities since the state began keeping records in 1925. In 2013, 1,199 individuals died in motor vehicle crashes.

Seventy-eight campaign billboards with a message that reads ‘Impaired Drivers Take Lives. Think’ will now appear across the state. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) also produced a 30-second public service announcement as part of the campaign. The announcement features a State Trooper who informs a spouse at her daughter’s birthday party that her husband was killed by a drunk driver. At the end of the announcement, the daughter, now grown and at a cemetery, says ‘that was the day a drunk driver killed my dad. This is how I celebrate my birthday now. Impaired drivers take lives. Think.’

The public service announcement will soon air on cable and network television and radio stations statewide and will be supported by GTSC, DMV and other state agencies through their social media channels.

Chuck DeWeese, Assistant Commissioner of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee said, “Impaired driving is still a major problem in New York. From 2009-2013, an average of 342 traffic fatalities occurred annually as a result of alcohol-impaired driving. With the support of many state agencies as well as municipal and county law enforcement, GTSC will continue its joint efforts to reduce fatalities associated with impaired driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is completely unacceptable.”

Since Cuomo became governor on Jan. 1, 2011, New York has implemented an aggressive approach to combating impaired driving. By leveraging the state’s network of county STOP-DWI programs, GTSC uses statewide enforcement mobilizations during holiday periods and in conjunction with national crackdowns to vigorously crack down on impaired driving. In 2014, the STOP-DWI Foundation launched the ‘Have a Plan’ mobile app to reduce impaired driving and encourage motorists to find a safe way home instead of driving.

The state also took steps to strengthen its impaired driving laws last year. Effective November 1, 2014, drivers convicted of DWI or DWAI three or more times in 15 years face a Class D felony charge, up to seven years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.