Commissioner David J. Swarts of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC); James F. May, Chairman of New York State STOP-DWI Association; Preston L. Felton, Acting Superintendent of the State Police; John P. Grebert, Executive Director of the Chiefs of Police Association; and Peter R. Kehoe, Executive Director of the New York State Sheriffs Association today announced the latest 2008 STOP-DWI enforcement effort that will take place statewide this weekend. The crackdown is aimed at making sure people are celebrating the St. Patrick’s Day holiday wisely and safely.
A STOP-DWI enforcement effort to crack down on drunk driving during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period will take place from Friday, March 14 Tuesday, March 18. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be out in force to reduce the incidence of drunk driving and to ensure the safety of our roadways.
Too many people become needless victims because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers,` Commissioner Swarts said. `STOP-DWI efforts are important because they lead to a reduction in the number of alcohol related fatalities and injuries, and I commend the law enforcement community for their unwavering efforts to ensure the safety of all motorists across New York State.`
James F. May, Chairman of the New York State STOP-DWI Association, Inc. said, `The New York State STOP-DWI Association is pleased to participate in the Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend. These highly visible drunk driving enforcement efforts serve to remind everyone to drive sober. We hope the STOP-DWI Crackdowns that target the holiday weekends throughout the year help make our roadways safer.`
Acting State Police Superintendent Preston L. Felton said, `Like many other celebrations, St. Patrick’s Day festivities are tremendous celebrations of heritage which should be done with thoughtful planning that includes safe transportation. For those who drink, that means designating a sober driver, or taking taxis or other public transportation. To ensure the safety of our roads and highways sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI prowler patrols will be assigned to safeguard our roads and highways statewide.`
John P. Grebert, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police said, `Our entire law enforcement community stands united with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and all of our highway safety partners in targeting impaired driving, a fundamental and persistent threat to public safety. The impaired driving ‘crackdown’ serves as an example to promote and highlight this endeavor through enforcement, education and awareness. This high visibility enforcement campaign will save lives and improve highway safety across the State.`
Peter R. Kehoe, Executive Director of the New York State Sheriffs Association said, `Our Sheriffs’ Deputies will be out in force, joining with the State Police and local police departments, to try to assure that no drivers turn this joyous holiday into a day of tragedy for themselves or others. We don’t want to dampen anyone’s fun. We just want to make sure they live to enjoy many more St. Patrick’s Days.`
The six major STOP-DWI Crackdowns target popular celebration weekends during 2008. The St. Patrick’s Day effort from March 14-18 is the second crackdown this year. The first was during the weekend of the Super Bowl from January 28-February 4. The other large crackdown celebration periods include: from June 27-July 6 for the Fourth of July; August 13-September 2 for Labor Day; October 24-November 2 for Halloween; and November 21-January 1, 2009 for the Thanksgiving through New Year’s holiday season.
While these crackdown periods produce positive results, it is important to keep in mind that every 30 minutes, someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related crash. Last year alone, more than one million people nationwide were injured in automobile crashes in which alcohol was a factor. In fact, during 2006 in New York, there were 7,959 alcohol-related accidents in which 397 people were killed.
STOP-DWI stands for `Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated.` The STOP-DWI program was enacted for the purpose of coordinating local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related crashes in a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program. The STOP-DWI program permits each of the state’s counties to establish a STOP-DWI Program that qualifies for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses occurring within its jurisdiction.
All 62 counties have opted to participate. Each county appoints a STOP-DWI Coordinator, whose duties include the coordination of efforts by agencies involved in alcohol and highway safety. Although the development and implementation of STOP-DWI programs rests with the counties, the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles is charged with the task of approving county STOP-DWI plans.