Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith and Town of Kent Police Department Chief Alex Divernieri report that their departments coordinated increased patrols for drunk drivers along area roadways over the Memorial Day weekend. The stepped up patrols were the latest action in ongoing efforts aimed at deterring intoxicated or impaired driving and is part of a statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown effort.
“The Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of the summer season, and with it comes picnics, pool parties and excursions to the beach,” said Chief Divernieri. “Unfortunately, those summertime activities all too often result in some people drinking too much and then driving–a deadly combination that we are trying to deter,” he said.
Historically, holiday festivities usually gives rise to increased incidents of impaired driving and drinking related crashes, resulting in injuries and deaths on New York roadways. In an effort to deter Driving While Intoxicated offenses around holidays, the New York State Police, County Sheriffs, and local law enforcement agencies across the state go on heightened alert looking for impaired drivers with increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints.
While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug-related fatalities, too many lives are still being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible and highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce fatalities caused by drunken driving by as much as 20 percent.
Sheriff Smith said that sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Kent Police Department were on the lookout for drunk drivers over the Memorial Day weekend, and it seems the increased visibility of patrols did have the desired deterrent effect, as no drivers checked during the weekend enforcement detail were found to be driving under the influence.
The STOP-DWI Labor Day Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association and funded by local STOP-DWI programs, the STOP-DWI Foundation, and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This multi-agency partnership has allowed local programs to significantly increase their Driving While Intoxicated enforcement and public awareness efforts. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the national holiday season in December.