This week the office of Joe Robach announced that the New York State Police will be ramping up enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on impaired driving. The 20-day campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 (Labor Day) and is aimed at significantly reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs. The New York State Police, together with the important work of local law enforcement, will be vigilant in screening for impaired drivers.
The Traffic Safety Committee 2014 annual report found that while the number of alcohol-related crash injuries were down in New York State by nearly 800 over a five-year period starting in 2009, 364 people were killed in such crashes in 2013 and about 30 percent of New York’s crash fatalities are alcohol-related. Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,076 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher 2013.
According to Joe Robach office, In New York State, .08 percent BAC is the legal threshold for driving while intoxicated, but many offenders are arrested at nearly twice that level: statewide, the average BAC of those arrested for alcohol-impaired driving is more than .14. Alcohol, however, is just one substance contributing to traffic fatalities. Drugs other than alcohol, such as marijuana and cocaine, are a factor in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says.
Even when drunk or impaired driving does not end in death or injury, its effects are particularly costly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the annual economic cost of alcohol-related motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States totals $49.8 billion.
In June 2015, it was reported that New York State had kept more than 7,500 repeat offenders off the road since implementing tougher DWI regulations in September 2012. Those individuals were denied relicensing either permanently or for an additional five years for having three or more alcohol or drug-related driving offenses on their record. As of July 31, the number has risen to more than 8,000.
On November 1, 2014, even stronger penalties were enacted in New York to deter impaired driving. Drivers convicted of DWI or DWAI three or more times in 15 years face a Class D felony charge, up to seven years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
To learn more about the risks of impaired driving and for traffic safety tips, visit the DMV website or contact the office of Joe Robach.