(WNY News Now) – The New York State Police, with funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, are intensifying efforts to combat impaired driving and underage drinking during the Halloween weekend, deploying sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols, and enhanced enforcement measures.
As Halloween festivities approach, the New York State Police have announced a comprehensive crackdown on impaired driving and underage drinking during the Halloween weekend. The heightened traffic enforcement period, spanning from Friday, October 27, 2023, through Wednesday, November 1, 2023, is supported by funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
Acting Superintendent of the New York State Police, Dominick L. Chiumento, emphasized the critical need for safety during this holiday period. He stated, “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 local roads, as children and their parents will be out enjoying the weekend festivities. Our message is simple: Drive responsibly, never drink and drive.”
Motorists venturing out this Halloween weekend should anticipate an increased police presence, including a multitude of sobriety checkpoints and additional patrols targeting Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Law enforcement will also be vigilant in detecting motorists who use mobile phones and electronic devices while behind the wheel. In addition, drivers are urged to adhere to the “move over” law when passing stopped emergency and hazard vehicles on the roadside. The State Police will further focus on curbing the illegal sale of alcohol to minors through statewide underage drinker enforcement efforts.
To enhance their enforcement capabilities, troopers will deploy both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles. CITE vehicles, camouflaged within regular traffic, become unmistakable as emergency vehicles once their emergency lighting is activated.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that Halloween is statistically a perilous night due to the increased presence of impaired drivers on the road. Between 2015 and 2019, there were 126 drunk-driving fatalities nationwide on Halloween night, with 41 percent involving at least one intoxicated driver. Pedestrians, particularly children trick-or-treating, face a heightened risk. In 2019, four pedestrians lost their lives in drunk-driving accidents on Halloween night.
Last year’s Halloween enforcement initiative yielded significant results, with a total of 1,006 accidents recorded, including 109 personal injury crashes and three fatalities. Moreover, troopers apprehended 189 individuals for DWI and issued a substantial total of 11,601 tickets.
In light of these statistics and to ensure a safe and enjoyable Halloween, the NHTSA offers these simple guidelines:
- Never drink and drive; designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or employ a ride-sharing service.
- Utilize your community’s sober ride program.
- Report drunk drivers to law enforcement if encountered on the road.
- Take action to prevent friends from driving under the influence; confiscate their keys and arrange for a safe journey home.
Motorists are urged to exercise responsibility and vigilance on the road to ensure a secure and joyful Halloween for all.