State Police To Increase Holiday Patrols

State police will increase patrols during the Fourth of July holiday. P-J file photo

The New York State Police plan to increase patrols during the Fourth of July to handle more drunken and drugged driving incidents as well as other traffic infractions.

In a statement Friday, NYSP said it will conduct sobriety checkpoints and target reckless and aggressive drivers statewide during one of the busiest travel days of the summer. The enforcement detail will be effective from June 30 to July 5.

“State troopers will be highly visible on the roadways during the holiday, targeting drivers who needlessly put others in danger,” said George Beach II, New York State Police superintendent. “We know all too well the preventable tragedies caused by impaired, reckless and distracted driving. Make the right choice — if your celebrations include drinking, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”

During last year’s Fourth of July holiday, State Police issued nearly 10,500 vehicle and traffic tickets. Troopers also arrested 240 people statewide for DWI and investigated 152 crashes, which resulted in three fatalities and 248 injuries.

DWI patrols will coincide with sobriety checkpoints during the enforcement. Troopers will be on the lookout for motorists using their phones or other electronic devices.

Drivers should remember to move over for stopped emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road when they travel New York roadways.

Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles during the operation. CITE vehicles allow troopers to more easily identify distracted drivers. These vehicles blend in with usual traffic but become unmistakable as emergency vehicles when the emergency lighting is activated.

Data shows that the Fourth of July holiday period is an especially deadly time of the year for motorists. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records reveal that the Fourth of July period in 2015 resulted in 146 deaths nationwide in alcohol-related crashes. Two thirds of those crashes involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher, which is almost twice the legal limit.

Those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs put the lives of themselves and others at risk. If arrested, one may face jail time, loss of drivers license and substantial fines and attorney fees. The average drinking and driving arrest costs up to $10,000.

The Fourth of July initiative for extra enforcement is partially funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The New York State STOP-DWI Foundation and GTSC remind motorists that their “Have a Plan” mobile app is available for Apple, Droid and Windows smartphones. It allows 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.

Tips to prevent drunk driving include:

¯ Plan a safe way home before celebrations begin;

¯ Designate a sober driver before drinking;

¯ Use a taxi or rideshare service, or call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation if impaired;

¯ Contact local law enforcement if you see an impaired driver on the road; and

¯ Take the keys of anyone who is about to drive while impaired and try to arrange another way of getting them home.