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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will increase patrols to crack down on drunk and drugged driving and other traffic infractions during the 4th of July holiday, beginning Saturday, Friday, July 3 and running through Sunday, July 5. State Troopers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and target reckless and aggressive driving statewide in an effort to keep New York highways safe during one of the busiest summer holidays for travel.  

“While the July Fourth weekend is a time to celebrate and spend time with family and friends, too often drinking leads to poor decisions when it is time to go home. To ensure safety on our roads this holiday, State Police and local law enforcement will be cracking down on impaired driving of any kind,” Governor Cuomo said. “I urge all New Yorkers to act responsibly and make arrangements to find a safe way home – never drink and drive.” 

Last year, the State Police issued nearly 13,410 vehicle and traffic tickets during the 4th of July weekend. Troopers arrested 249 people for DWI and investigated 187 crashes, which resulted in two fatalities. 

During this enforcement period, drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and DWI patrols. Law enforcement will also be looking for motorists who are using their phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Drivers should also remember to “move over” for stopped emergency and hazard vehicles on the side of the road when they travel New York roadways. 

New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “Troopers will be highly visible this weekend on the lookout for impaired, drugged, and reckless drivers. Our message is simple: If you drink and drive, it’s likely that you will end up in jail. Stay safe and don’t make a bad decision that costs your life or the life of someone else.”

Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles as part of the operation. The CITE vehicles allow Troopers to more easily identify motorists who are using handheld devices while driving. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated. 

DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “Driving impaired is one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do, especially now at this critical time for our healthcare system. I urge New Yorkers to do the right thing—have a plan to get home safely.” 

The Fourth of July initiative is partially funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their “Have a Plan” mobile app, is available for Apple, Droid, and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi or rideshare service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties and provides a way to report a suspected impaired driver. 

If you drive drunk or drugged, you not only put your life and the lives of others at risk, you could face arrest, jail time, and substantial fines and attorney fees. The average drinking and driving arrest costs up to $10,000.

Arrested drunk and drugged drivers face the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, fines and court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost time at work.

The New York State Police, GTSC and NHTSA recommend these simple tips to prevent impaired 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 suspect a driver is drunk or impaired 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.