Governor Kathy Hochul 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 this 4th of July. Law enforcement statewide will conduct sobriety checkpoints and target reckless and aggressive driving to keep New York highways safe during what is considered the busiest travel weekend of the summer.

“State Police and local law enforcement agencies will once again be out on New York’s roadways this holiday weekend making sure they are safe for drivers and passengers,” Governor Hochul said. “We want New Yorkers to have fun this holiday weekend, but we also want them to do so responsibly. We have no tolerance for drivers whose reckless actions endanger the lives of others.”

The campaign, which is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), will begin on Wednesday, July 3 at 6:00 p.m. and will run until midnight on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

To help ease travel during the busy holiday weekend, temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended beginning 6 a.m. on Thursday, July 4 to 6 a.m. on Monday, July 8. Construction related lane closures on select Thruway projects will be suspended beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3.

Motorists should be aware some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs. The construction suspension aligns with New York State’s Drivers First Initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.

Last year, law enforcement issued 35,104 tickets across the state during the July 4 enforcement period, including more than 1,200 tickets for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, more than 1,000 for distracted driving, and more than 7,000 speeding tickets. During that time, State Police alone issued 12,991 total tickets, arrested 193 people for DWI and investigated 949 crashes, including five fatalities.

Motorists should follow the state’s Move Over Law, which was expanded in March to require drivers to slow down and move over for all vehicles stopped along the roadway.

Text stops, including park-and-ride facilities, rest stops, service areas and parking areas along state highways support the state’s effort to reduce distracted driving. All text stops will remain open, providing locations where drivers can safely and conveniently use their phones and other mobile devices for calling, texting, navigating and accessing mobile apps. Texting while driving is especially dangerous, as it requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off driving.

The Thruway Authority reminds motorists that while 18 service areas are open, eight are closed and under construction as part of the $450 million redevelopment project. Fuel services remain open at all locations. Motorists can view the service areas and plan their stops on the Thruway Authority’swebsite and on the free mobile app.

During this enforcement period, drivers can expect to encounter sobriety checkpoints and increased 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 stopped on the side of the road when they travel New York roadways.

The New York State Police will be using both marked vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) 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 everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their “Have a Plan” mobile app is available for Apple, Android 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, but you could also 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.