State Police and Local Law Enforcement to Conduct Special DWI Enforcement March 17 Through March 19

Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that the New York State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols to combat drunk, impaired, and reckless driving as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations get underway starting this weekend. This special traffic enforcement detail, which is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, begins on Friday, March 17, 2023, and runs through Sunday, March 19, 2023.

Drivers can expect to encounter additional DWI patrols and sobriety checkpoints during the enforcement period. State Police will also be ticketing distracted drivers who are using handheld electronic devices and will conduct checks at retail establishments targeting underage drinking and unlawful sales to minors during the campaign.

“Our message is clear: If you’re planning on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with alcohol, make plans for a safe ride home,” Governor Hochul said. “The tragedies caused by impaired driving are completely preventable if we all put safety first. We have zero tolerance for impaired driving, and I thank our State Police and local law enforcement who will be out in force all weekend.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, “A celebration can turn deadly in an instant because of an impaired or distracted driver. If you are going to be celebrating, please celebrate responsibly. Help us keep New York’s roads the safest in the nation by planning ahead. Don’t drink and drive and designate a sober driver. It’s a critical choice that could save a life.”

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable. Before you head out to celebrate, be responsible. Have a plan to get home safely without putting yourself or others at risk. Those simple steps will help keep our roadways safe and save lives.”

During last year’s St. Patrick’s Day impaired driving enforcement, Troopers arrested 381 people for DWI, issued 754 tickets for distracted driving and 26,594 tickets in total.

Drunk driving kills more than 11,600 people each year in our country. One person dies every 45 minutes of an alcohol related crash. That’s an average of 32 people a day, and every one of those deaths is preventable.

Choosing to drive drunk can ruin or end your life or someone else’s. This St. Patrick’s Day, if you drink and drive, you face jail time, the loss of your license, a higher insurance rate, and dozens of unanticipated expenses. Charges related to impaired driving carry fines of up to $10,000.

The New York State Police and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) ask you to commit to following these easy steps, so you can enjoy a safe holiday without jeopardizing lives on the road.

  • 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 or ridesharing service, 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.

The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation’s “Have a Plan” mobile app, is available for Apple, Droid and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties, and a way to report a suspected impaired driver.