St. Lawrence County police agencies cracking down on drunk driving through St. Patrick's Day weekend until March 18
Friday, March 14, 2014 - 11:30 am

St. Lawrence County police agencies have already launched a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving throughout St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

The crackdown will continue until March 18.

St. Patrick’s Day is historically a deadly period for impaired driving, according to St. Lawrence County STOP-DWI.

State police, county sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this effort to reduce the number of impaired driving injuries and deaths.

St. Lawrence County STOP-DWI will be working with Potsdam Police Department, SUNY Potsdam University Police, Norfolk Police Department, and NYS Park Police.

The funding for this crackdown was provided by the New York State STOP- DWI Foundation through a grant from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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 (16%) being drug-related. The number of drivers ticketed for drug-impaired driving rose 20% between 2007 and 2011, while the number of drivers ticketed for alcohol-impaired driving dropped 15%.

“There will be no warnings,” said Michele James of the county STOP-DWI office. “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.

During the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day weekend enforcement effort, troopers made 204 arrests for DWI, and issued a total of 9,763 tickets.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 269 people were killed by drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day over the years 2007-2011.

Troopers are asking people to commit to following these easy steps to enjoy a safe:

• Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.

• Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.

• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.

• If available, use your community’s sober ride program

• Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.

• If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.

• And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride with someone who is impaired, help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely. If a friend is drunk and wants to drive, intervene and take the keys away if you have to.