State police to crack down on impaired driving and underage drinking over Halloween weekend

ALBANY, NY —  The New York State Police will be conducting impaired driving and underage drinking initiatives during the Halloween weekend. The traffic enforcement period runs from Friday, October 27, 2023, through Wednesday, November 1, 2023, and is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento said, “Halloween can be great family fun, but it can also be deadly when someone makes the wrong decision to drink and drive. Troopers will be highly visible throughout the Halloween weekend looking for impaired and reckless drivers.  Drivers should exercise extreme caution, especially on the local roads, as children and their parents will be out enjoying the weekend festivities. Our message is simple: Drive responsibility, never drink and drive.”

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 everyday 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 2015 and 2019, there were 126 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night nationwide. Of those fatalities, 41 percent occurred in crashes where there was at least one drunk driver involved. Children out trick-or-treating, and those who accompany them, are also at risk. During Halloween night 2019, four pedestrians were killed in drunk-driving crashes.

During last year’s initiative there were 1,006 accidents, which included 109 personal injury crashes and three fatalities.  Troopers also arrested 189 people for DWI and issued a total of 11,601 tickets.

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.