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State Police To Launch Safety Campaign During Thanksgiving Weekend

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will participate in a special traffic safety initiative to prevent unsafe driving behaviors as the winter holiday season kicks off. The Thanksgiving weekend initiative runs from Wednesday, November 24, through Sunday November 28.

“As we look ahead to celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, many of us will be spending time on the road and it’s critical we do everything we can to ensure that holiday travel can be done safely,” Governor Hochul said. “Getting behind the wheel while impaired by drugs or alcohol does nothing but put lives at risk. This year, make the responsible choice and help keep your fellow New Yorkers safe by having a plan to secure a safe and sober ride home.”

In an effort to ease travel during the busy Thanksgiving weekend, temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended beginning Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 6 a.m. through Monday, Nov. 29 at 6 a.m. Motorists are advised that some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers for emergency repairs. The construction suspension aligns with New York State’s Driver’s First initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.

The State Police will supplement regular patrols statewide with dedicated impaired driving patrols including Drug Recognition Experts, fixed sobriety checkpoints, underage drinking enforcement, speed enforcement, and the use of Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on handheld devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

Elevated traffic volumes typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 155 drivers for DWI, issued 4,871 speeding tickets and 228 tickets for distracted driving.Statewide, law enforcement arrested 901 people for DWI, issued 7,406 tickets for speeding and 627 tickets for distracted driving.

To discourage impaired driving, The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) and its partners will be participating in a nationwide social media blitz using the hashtag #BoycottBlackoutWednesday.

The Thanksgiving impaired driving enforcement initiative is funded by the GTSC. The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their “Have a Plan” mobile app, is available for Apple, Android and Windows 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 up to $10,000.

Arrested drunk and drugged drivers 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.

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