Albany, NY - October 27, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will increase patrols to crack down on drunk and impaired driving this Halloween weekend. The special traffic enforcement detail, which is coordinated and funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and county STOP-DWI programs, will begin Friday, October 28 and continue through Tuesday, November 1, 2016.
"Time and time again, we have seen this holiday become the date of avoidable tragedies caused by dangerous, reckless and unacceptable behavior behind the wheel," Governor Cuomo said. "To keep our roadways safe, the state will increase the presence of law enforcement in every community and I urge all New Yorkers to assist in these efforts by making responsible decisions so that everyone can have a safe and happy Halloween."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, 52 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1) involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher. During the Halloween initiative in 2015, New York State Police arrested 167 people for DWI and issued more than 7,600 tickets for speeding, distracted driving and other traffic violations. Troopers also responded to more than 737 crashes, which killed two people and injured 85 others. In addition, 26 counties participated in last year’s Halloween crackdown resulting in 77 DWI/DWAI arrests, 11 DWAI-Drugs only arrests, 85 other arrests and 904 Vehicle and Traffic summonses.
State and local law enforcement will be extra vigilant in their efforts to protect families and their loved ones on New York’s roadways, as Halloween falls on a Monday this year. Motorists can expect to see a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional patrols over the weekend. Troopers will also conduct a special enforcement detail to crack down on the sale of alcohol to minors.
The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee has also issued a new video to deter underage drinking and encourage responsible decision making. The video urges New York parents, pedestrians, and holiday partygoers to take extra precautions this Halloween Weekend.
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "Halloween is a weekend of fun, but can also be a lesson in responsibility on New York’s roadways. We urge drivers to be smart and make the right choice to not drink and drive. Please use other resources to not get behind a wheel this Halloween weekend. Troopers will be out in force making sure this Halloween is a safe one on the roads."
Acting GTSC Chair and DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, "Law enforcement will be placing a high emphasis on safety and responsibility this Halloween weekend. We are asking that if you are going to drink, please act responsibly. There are many options to consider other than getting behind the wheel after drinking. Please be smart and take the proper measures to have a safe and happy Halloween weekend."
Troopers will use marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles as part of the crackdown. CITE vehicles allow Troopers to better observe driving violations. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as law enforcement vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
The New York State Police and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee ask that everyone follow these easy steps to enjoy a safe Halloween without jeopardizing the lives of others on and off the road.
This Halloween weekend:
- Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
- Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
- If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
- Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.
In addition, Governor Cuomo launched an education campaign in June that emphasizes the “See! Be Seen!” message for driver and pedestrian awareness. The messaging of this campaign is especially relevant this Halloween weekend.
The “See!” aspect of this campaign encourages drivers to:
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections.
- Do not block crosswalks when stopped at an intersection.
- Do not run red lights.
- Slow down and obey speed limits.
- Always look for pedestrians, particularly when turning at a green light or making a right turn on red.
- Take extra care around schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods.
The “Be Seen!” aspect of this campaign encourages pedestrians to:
- Cross at intersections and marked crosswalks.
- Use pedestrian push-buttons where available and wait for the signal to cross.
- Use sidewalks; if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic so you see vehicles and drivers see you.
- Stay visible after dark and in bad weather by wearing light-colored or reflective clothing.
- Watch for vehicles backing out of parking spaces and exiting driveways.
- Make eye contact with drivers so they see you.
- Look left, look right, and then look left again before crossing a street.