State Police remind drivers of special traffic enforcement for St. Patrick’s Day weekend

In an effort to prevent tragedies caused by impaired driving, the New York State Police will initiate special traffic enforcement efforts during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

The effort began on Friday and will run through Monday.

Drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional driving while intoxicated patrols during the campaign. State Police will also be ticketing distracted drivers using handheld electronic devices.

“The New York State Police want everyone to have a fun St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but urge people to do it safely. If you attend a party or event and consume alcohol, designate a driver or find alternate transportation,” said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico.

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, more than 269 people were killed by drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day over the years 2007-2011.

Every 53 minutes in 2011 a person was killed in a drunk-driving crash in the United States, and most of the drunk drivers involved had blood alcohol concentrations nearly double the legal limit of .08 percent.

The New York State Police and NHTSA asks you commit to following these easy steps, so you can enjoy a safe holiday without jeopardizing lives on the road.

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.