New York Announces Crackdown on Drunk Driving
ALBANY, N.Y. --- New York state law enforcement officials yesterday announced STOP-DWI efforts aimed at making sure people celebrate wisely and safely this holiday week.STOP-DWI stands for "Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated." A STOP-DWI enforcement effort to crack down on drunk driving during the July 4th holiday period will take place from June 29 to July 8. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be out in force to reduce the incidence of drunk driving and to ensure the safety of the state's roadways.Participating in the news conference were Commissioner David J. Swarts of the Department of Motor Vehicles and chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC); James May, president of New York State STOP-DWI; Preston Felton, acting superintendent of the State Police; John Grebert, executive director of the Chiefs of Police Association and other local law enforcement officials."STOP-DWI efforts have led to significant reductions in the number of alcohol-related fatalities, but still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers," Commissioner Swarts said. "I commend law enforcement for their efforts to ensure the safety of all motorists in New York State."James May, president of the STOP-DWI Association said: "The New York State STOP-DWI Association is pleased to join forces with the New York State Police, County Sheriff's and municipal police agencies from across New York for the 4th of July STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the 4th of July STOP-DWI Crackdown serve to remind everyone to drive sober. We hope this special effort by law enforcement helps make our roadways safe during the 4th of July holiday week."New York State Police Acting Superintendent Preston L. Felton added: "The New York State Police proudly join the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the STOP-DWI campaign in the continued effort to discourage, detect, and apprehend impaired drivers. Scores of senseless deaths occur on our highways because of drinking and driving, speeding, aggressive driving, and improper use of safety restraints. State Police enforcement, combined with safe and responsible driving behaviors by motorists, will give way to safer roadways for all New Yorkers this Independence Day holiday."At the news conference, law enforcement agencies noted they will step up their enforcement efforts throughout the year, especially during the 4th of July holiday. Last year during the 4th of July reporting period of June 30 to July 4 there were six alcohol-related crashes that resulted in six deaths, which was down from the eight fatalities during the same period in 2005.While these crackdown periods produce positive results, it is important to keep in mind that every 30 minutes, someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related crash. Last year alone, more than 1 million people nationwide were injured in automobile crashes in which alcohol was a factor.The STOP-DWI Crackdowns will target the popular holidays of 2007. This week, through the 4th of July holiday, the target period is from June 29 to July 8. During the Labor Day holiday, September 1-3 will have increased enforcement. The holiday period from December 21 to January 1, 2008 will also be targeted.The STOP-DWI program was enacted to coordinate local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related crashes in a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program.The STOP-DWI program permits each of the state’s counties to establish a STOP-DWI Program which qualifies for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses occurring within its jurisdiction.All 62 counties have opted to participate. Each county appoints a STOP-DWI coordinator, whose duties include the coordination of efforts by agencies involved in alcohol and highway safety.Although the development and implementation of STOP-DWI programs rests with the counties, the commissioner of motor vehicles is charged with the task of approving county STOP-DWI plans.