ITHACA, N.Y. –– Friday night frights are fun, but keep in mind as your celebrate the hair-raising holiday that staying safe and celebrating responsibly should be a priority. In a press release Friday, New York State Police and local law enforcement said they will be increasing patrols to crack down on impaired driving and underage drinking through Halloween.

This special enforcement campaign runs from Friday, Oct. 30, until noon on Sunday, Nov. 1.

“State Troopers will be highly visible throughout Halloween weekend looking for impaired and reckless drivers. Children and parents will be out walking and drivers need to exercise extreme caution. Make safety your top priority and don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking,” State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said.

Motorists can expect to encounter sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols over the weekend. 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.

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. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic to allow the troopers to better observe driving violations.

DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder added to the call for safe fun saying“the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee proudly supports this enforcement campaign that will help get impaired drivers off the road. Halloween should be a fun time for all those participating—don’t turn it into a tragic event by making the reckless decision to drive impaired. Have a plan to get home safely and watch for pedestrians.”

During last year’s initiative, troopers arrested 280 people for impaired driving and issued 21,467 total tickets. Police also investigated 2,092 crashes, which resulted in three fatalities and 269 people injured. As a deterrent to potential Halloween party-goers, state police warn that the average drinking and driving arrest costs up to $10,000.

Additionally, 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.

To stay safe the New York State Police, GTSC and NHTSA recommend these simple tips to prevent impaired driving:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ride sharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation
  • If you suspect a driver is drunk or impaired on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

State Police will also be targeting the illegal sale of alcohol to minors through underage drinker enforcement details statewide.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com