A rise in drug-related driving arrests will be on the minds of St. Lawrence County police agencies participating in a special crackdown on impaired driving from March 15 to March 18, to include St. Patrick’s Day, according to St. Lawrence County STOP-DWI.
St. Patrick’s Day is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. County authorities said New York State Police, county sheriffs and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in an across-the-board effort to reduce the number of impaired driving injuries and deaths.
A recent study conducted by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (www.itsmr.org) in Albany found that the involvement of drugs is a serious issue in fatal crashes, with one out of six fatalities being drug-related. The number of drivers ticketed for drug-impaired driving rose 20 percent from 2007 to 2011, while the number of drivers ticketed for alcohol-impaired driving dropped 15 percent.
As part of the New York State STOP-DWI Enforcement Crackdowns, St. Lawrence County STOP-DWI will be working with St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Gouverneur Police Department, Norfolk Police Department, Ogdensburg Police Department, Potsdam Police Department and SUNY Potsdam Police Department.
The funding for this crackdown comes from the New York State STOP- DWI Foundation through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration via the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. There will be special emphasis on impaired driving with alcohol or drugs.
“There will be no warnings,” said Michele James of the county Stop-DWI program. “Our message is simple—Don’t drink or drug and drive. Violators can lose their licenses; pay increased insurance rates; may have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle; pay fines and surcharges as well as DMV fees.”
All drinking driving fines collected from convicted drunk drivers fund the St. Lawrence County STOP-DWI Program.