Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that the New York State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols to target impaired and reckless drivers during the Halloween weekend. State Police also will target the illegal sale of alcohol to minors through underage drinker enforcement details statewide during the five-day period. This special enforcement period begins Friday, October 28, 2022, runs through Tuesday, November 1, 2022.
"My focus this Halloween weekend is to keep New Yorkers safe with zero tolerance for impaired driving," Governor Hochul said. "If your Halloween celebrations include alcohol, plan for a safe ride home with a sober driver. Those who take the risk and drive impaired will end up facing the consequences of breaking the law."
Motorists who are traveling this weekend can expect to encounter sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols. Law enforcement also will 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.
Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of this crackdown to more easily identify motorists who are violating the law. CITE vehicles allow Troopers to better observe driving violations. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once emergency lighting is activated.
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, "Halloween is a fun night for people of all ages, however, fun can quickly turn to tragedy if done so irresponsibly. If you're not old enough to drink, don't. If your Halloween plans include alcohol, don't get behind the wheel and plan for a safe ride home. Motorists should take extra caution while driving by trick-or-treaters and pedestrians by slowing down and moving over. There's no trick, by following these simple steps you could save your life or someone else's."
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "While having fun on Halloween with friends and family, remember to never drive impaired and be extra cautious for pedestrians. Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable by always planning ahead for a safe ride to your destination. GTSC proudly supports this enforcement campaign to help get reckless drivers off the road."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to the high number of impaired drivers on the roads. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 129 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night nationwide. On Halloween night 2020, 68 percent of the fatalities in drunk-driving crashes involved adults ranging in age from 21 and 34. During that same night, 11 pedestrians were killed in drunk-driving crashes.
During last year's enforcement initiative, State Troopers investigated 566 crashes, including 71 crashes that resulted in injuries and two fatalities. Troopers also arrested 133 people for DWI and issued a total of 7,824 tickets for speeding, distracted driving, and other traffic violations.
The Halloween impaired driving enforcement initiative is funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their "Have a Plan" mobile app, is available for Apple and Android 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, you could face arrest, jail time, and substantial fines and attorney fees. The average drinking and driving arrest costs an individual up to $10,000.
Individuals convicted of drunk or drugged driving 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: