Governor Hochul Announces Crackdown on Unsafe Driving Through Thanksgiving Weekend

More Than 14,063 Tickets Issued and 213 People Arrested for DWI Statewide During Last Year’s Enforcement

Construction Related Lane Closures Limited From 6 A.M. Wednesday, November 22 Through 6 A.M. Monday, November 27

Governor Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that the New York State Police will participate in a special traffic enforcement initiative to crack down on unsafe driving behaviors through Thanksgiving weekend. The special traffic enforcement period runs from today, November 22, 2023, through Sunday, November 26, 2023 and will focus on impaired and distracted driving as well as speeding and the Move Over Law.

“The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and our goal is to ensure that everyone gets where they need to go safely,” Governor Hochul said. “State Troopers and local law enforcement will be out in force working to prevent needless accidents. I urge drivers to follow the rules of the road and make safety your top priority while traveling this holiday season.”

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 at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, November 22 through 6 a.m. on Monday, November 27. 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 Thruway Authority reminds motorists that 12 service areas are closed and under construction as part of the $450 million private investment and modernization project. Fuel services remain open at all locations. Motorists can view the service areas and plan their stops on the Thruway Authority’s website and on the free mobile app.

The State Police will supplement regular patrols statewide, including fixed sobriety checkpoints, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing 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 2022 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 213 drivers for DWI, issued 4,757 speeding tickets, and 425 tickets for distracted driving.

The Thanksgiving impaired driving enforcement initiative is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee(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.

The New York State Police, GTSC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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;
  • Use your community’s sober ride program;
  • 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.

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