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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 4, 2015
Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Reminds New Yorkers that "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" Campaign Continues Through Labor Day
State Police, local law enforcement out in force to deter drunk and impaired driving
The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today announced that stepped-up patrols to combat drunk and impaired driving will continue through this Labor Day, September 7. In late August, Governor Cuomo directed New York State Police to increase enforcement during the 20-day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over national crackdown on impaired driving, which is aimed at significantly reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs.
"As New Yorkers prepare to enjoy a blockbuster summer weekend, it is critical that all motorists commit to staying sober behind the wheel, not only to protect themselves, but to ensure others can enjoy the holiday safely," said Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. "While driving without impairments is important each day of the year, increased traffic and celebrations during Labor Day weekend may make crashes more likely. I urge all New Yorkers to take responsibility and drive sober this Labor Day weekend."
During last year's Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, from August 15 through September 1, the New York State Police arrested 168 people for driving while intoxicated (DWI), the legal threshold for which is .08 percent blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) under New York State law. In addition to increased patrols, troopers checked 19,000 vehicles that passed through sobriety checkpoints. As they have in the past, State Police and law enforcement partners will also target motorists who are distracted, speeding, not wearing seatbelts, and not abiding by the "move over" law. Troopers issued more than 46,500 tickets during the 2014 enforcement period for such violations.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said, "Each year there are needless tragedies and victims left behind because of the decisions made by drunk and drug impaired drivers. The State Police want everyone to have a happy holiday – but we also want it to be a safe one. Through education and enforcement, State Police are working to make New York's roads safer, by discouraging, detecting, and arresting impaired motorists."
On November 1, 2014, even stronger penalties were enacted in New York to deter impaired driving. 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.
The emphasis on driving sober and obeying traffic laws follows Governor Cuomo's August 31 announcement of an end-of-summer underage drinking and fake ID crackdown at concerts and events across the state, which will last through Labor Day weekend. The enforcement is occurring unannounced at various concert venues and places where young adults congregate across the state, and is being carried out by the DMV Division of Field Investigation in partnership with law enforcement agencies.
New York's anti-impaired driving enforcement campaigns are funded by the GTSC and STOP-DWI, a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program that allows participating counties to qualify for the return of all fines collected for impaired driving offenses.
In 2014, the GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation partnered to release a Have a Plan mobile app, which enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi service, program a designated driver list, educate themselves on blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels, and get information on DWI laws and penalties. The app is available for Apple, Droid, and Windows smartphones.