Starting today, the State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols to crack down on impaired driving and underage drinking through Thursday, Nov. 1.
Motorists can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols. Law enforcement will also be looking for motorists who are using their phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel.
Troopers will also be targeting the illegal sale of alcohol to minors through underage drinker enforcement details statewide.
Troopers will be using both marked vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles as part of this crackdown. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
“Halloween is meant to be a fun holiday, but it can turn deadly when someone makes the wrong choice to drink and drive. Our message is simple: If you drink, don’t drive.” Said State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II. “Drivers should also exercise caution as children and their parents will be out walking our streets. Be mindful of the extra pedestrian traffic.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to the high number of impaired drivers on the roads. Between 2012 and 2016, there were 168 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night. Children out trick-or-treating, and those who accompany them, are also at risk, as 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved drunk drivers.
During last year’s initiative there were 1,593 accidents, more than 226 of which resulted in someone being injured. One person was killed. Troopers also arrested 248 people for DWI and issued more than 9, 057 tickets for speeding, distracted driving and other traffic violations.
“We urge motorists to use extra caution, watch for children and their parents, and most important of all, never get behind the wheel if you are impaired,” said Terri Egan, executive deputy commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles and acting Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee chair. “Pedestrians or anyone out trick-or-treating can make themselves more visible to motorists by wearing reflective clothing or carrying lights.”
“If you plan to head out and celebrate Halloween, NHTSA offers these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
- Use your community’s sober ride program
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact law enforcement
- Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.