Police will step up efforts against dangerous drivers over holiday weekend

Posted 25 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, NY State Police

The New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will crack down on impaired, distracted and speeding drivers during this Thanksgiving holiday. The special traffic enforcement period will run from today through Sunday.

The State Police will supplement regular patrols statewide focusing on speed enforcement, impaired driving, underage drinking, and distracted driving. The effort will incorporate fixed sobriety checkpoints, an underage drinker initiative and the “Operation Hang Up” initiative, which targets drivers talking or texting on handheld devices. State Police will use unmarked vehicles, which blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

The highest traffic volumes of the year typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 172 drivers for DWI, issued 4,237 speeding tickets and issued 565 tickets for distracted driving.

“We encourage all New Yorkers to join us in making this Thanksgiving a safe one,” said Joseph D’Amico, superintendent of State Police. “Please follow posted speed limits, make certain that all occupants are buckled up, and put away your smart phones and other mobile devices while driving. Remember, if you’re celebrating with alcohol — don’t get behind the wheel — get a ride home with a sober driver or make other arrangements. Our Troopers will be visible this long holiday weekend and working to ensure everyone’s safety.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2013 there were 301 people killed in traffic crashes across the nation.

In New York, there were 11 deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes statewide during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2014. Of those, three were due to alcohol-related crashes, five were due to speed-related crashes and two resulted from crashes in which both speed and alcohol were reported as contributing factors.

The New York State Police, Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:

Plan a safe way home before the fun 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 where they are going safely