Thanksgiving motorists can expect police crackdown on drunken, distracted driving

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This Thanksgiving holiday will see another law enforcement crackdown on drunken and distracted driving — with state troopers, multiple county sheriff’s departments and local police officers all taking part.

The crackdown will see increased patrols from all major law enforcement agencies, including the state police, along with sobriety checkpoints and other enforcement efforts. Officers will be driving both marked and unmarked patrol vehicles, the announcement said, adding that the crackdown started on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and will run through Sunday, Nov. 28.

"As we look ahead to celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, many of us will be spending time on the road and it's critical we do everything we can to ensure that holiday travel can be done safely," said Governor Hochul in a release.

"Getting behind the wheel while impaired by drugs or alcohol does nothing but put lives at risk. This year, make the responsible choice and help keep your fellow New Yorkers safe by having a plan to secure a safe and sober ride home."

In an effort to ease travel during the busy Thanksgiving weekend, temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on state highways will be suspended until Monday morning. Motorists are advised that some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers for emergency repairs.

During the 2020 Thanksgiving crackdown, state police issued 155 tickets for drunken driving, 4,871 tickets for speeding and 228 tickets for distracted driving. Throughout the state, troopers and other law enforcement agencies charged 901 people with drunken driving.

According to law enforcement officials, research shows that high-visibility law enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20%.

Officials said the checkpoints also play a key part in raising awareness.

Officials said 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 STOP-DWI Association sponsors these statewide crackdowns over every major holiday, and the Super Bowl, throughout the year.

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