State and local police are stepping up traffic safety efforts for this week’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week.
The law enforcement initiative will start Saturday, March 12, and run through Thursday, St. Patricks’ Day.
Police will be setting up sobriety checkpoints, as well beefing up DWI patrols across Long Island and elsewhere. They will also be targeting underage drinking and people selling alcohol to minors.
That, and distracted driving will be a focus of this year’s campaign.
According to figures released by the governor’s office — citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration —the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2010 to 2014 saw the loss of 266 lives nationally due to drunk driving crashes.
In 2014 alone, 29 people (28 percent of all crash fatalities that year) were killed in drunk driving crashes.
“Motorists don’t just risk their own lives when they drive drunk or impaired – they put everyone on the road in danger, including those walking and biking,” said Terri Egan, the chair of the governor’s traffic safety committee.
State authorities offered these tips for St. Patrick’s Day revelers:
- Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
- Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
- If available, use your community’s sober ride program
- Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.