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Police launch end-of-summer crackdown on impaired driving

Posted 20 August 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed New York State Police to ramp up enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on impaired driving.

The 20-day campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 (Labor Day) and is aimed at significantly reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs. The New York State Police, together with the important work of local law enforcement, will be vigilant in screening for impaired drivers.

“Driving drunk is both reckless and selfish, and we have seen too far too many avoidable tragedies that occurred after someone got behind the wheel when they shouldn’t have,” Cuomo said. “I urge all New Yorkers to drive responsibly, and want everyone to know that impaired driving will not be tolerated in this state.”

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee 2014 annual report found that while the number of alcohol-related crash injuries were down in New York State by nearly 800 over a five-year period starting in 2009, 364 people were killed in such crashes in 2013 and about 30 percent of New York’s crash fatalities are alcohol-related.

Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,076 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher 2013.

In New York State, .08 percent BAC is the legal threshold for driving while intoxicated, but many offenders are arrested at nearly twice that level: statewide, the average BAC of those arrested for alcohol-impaired driving is more than .14.

Alcohol, however, is just one substance contributing to traffic fatalities. Drugs other than alcohol, such as marijuana and cocaine, are a factor in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says.