ALBANY, NY — The New York State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols to crack down on impaired driving and underage drinking through Halloween. The enforcement campaign runs from Friday, October 26 through Thursday, November 1, 2018, and is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “We want everyone to have a happy Halloween, but we also want them to celebrate safely and responsibly. 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. Drivers should also exercise caution as children and their parents will be out walking our streets. Be mindful of the extra pedestrian traffic. Together, we can work together to make our roads safer for all who travel and walk them.”
Terri Egan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting GTSC chair, said “Our top priority is the safety of everyone on our roads – our goal is not to spoil anyone’s fun on Halloween. 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. Pedestrians or anyone out trick-or-treating can make themselves more visible to motorists by wearing reflective clothing or carrying lights. No matter how you choose to celebrate, please do so responsibly.”
Motorists who are traveling this weekend 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. Drivers should also remember to “move over” for stopped emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road. State Police will also be targeting the illegal sale of alcohol to minors through underage drinker enforcement details statewide.
Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of this crackdown in order to more easily identify motorists who are violating the law. CITE vehicles allow the Trooper to better observe driving violations. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
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 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 (2012-2016) 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.
A reminder, 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.