New York’s St. Paddy’s Day DWI crackdown
Law enforcement agencies across New York are joining forces to ensure the state’s roadways are safe this St. Patrick’s Day. The effort, dubbed STOP-DWI New York, is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association and provides local police forces with the financing to increase patrols and staff sobriety checkpoints during the holiday.
Participating officers in Binghamton, N.Y., are especially wary, as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the town’s biggest events annually. According to local TV news station WBNG, more than 30 patrol officers from the town and greater Broome County will be on the look out for drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They will be patrolling and setting up sobriety checkpoints near the parade route.
"Most DWI checkpoints are done in the evening [but] you'll actually see patrols and check points in the daylight hours because a lot of people start drinking fairly early on parade day especially," Broome County's STOP-DWI Coordinator Chris Marion told the TV station. "So you'll actually see patrols during the day which is something we do not typically do."
Last year's crackdown in Binghamton led to 14 arrests. Marion told the station last year’s arrests started around 2 p.m., and he expects this year’s crackdown to be just as busy.
Orange County, N.Y., will also be participating in the STOP-DWI effort. Police agencies throughout the county will be setting up checkpoints and increasing patrols to help ensure safety on the county’s roadways.
“During the St. Patrick’s Day Parade season, I encourage everyone to exercise sound judgment, and think about your personal safety and the safety of others. Don’t become or cause another statistic attributed to driving while intoxicated,” Sheriff Carl E. DuBois said in a statement. “Have fun, but if you think you’ve had too much to drink – don’t take a chance. Hand over your keys, stay overnight [or] call a cab…”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 269 people have been killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk driving during St. Patrick’s Day festivities from 2007 to 2011.
The STOP-DWI Program recommends the following for those celebrating on St. Patrick’s day:
- Designate a sober driver and give that person your keys before the party begins
- If you do not have a sober driver designated, find a sober friend, call a cab or a family member to pick you up.
- If you cannot find a sober person to drive you, stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
- Never let a friend leave your sight if you are worried they will drive drunk.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police.
“Don't let one moment in time change your life, and the lives of others, forever. If you are going to be drinking, arrange for safe transportation. If you are caught driving while intoxicated, the price you will pay by facing imprisonment, paying to defend against criminal charges and potentially knowing that you killed or injured others just to have a good time, [it’s simply not worth it,” Orange County District Attorney David M. Hovler said in a statement.