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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Impaired Driving Crackdown

Labor Day Weekend signifies the end of summer, white clothes, and weekends at the beach. This year, Labor Day Weekend also signifies the end of an 18-day crackdown on impaired driving. Law Enforcement Agencies statewide are participating in the nationwide campaign called “Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” The 18-day initiative began on Friday, August 20 and will culminate on Labor Day (Monday, September 6).

Nationwide this campaign aims to reduce the deaths and injuries associated with impaired driving. Roughly every 40 minutes someone in the United States is killed in an alcohol-related accident. Last year, over one million people were injured in drunk driving accidents. In New York State, there were more than 9,000 alcohol-related accidents in 2008 and almost 400 lives were lost. While these numbers are a significant improvement from years past, New York State Law Enforcement Officials worry the public would become complacent about impaired driving issues without campaigns like this.

Law Enforcement Officials across the state have spoken out in support of the impaired driving crackdown. Personnel from Law Enforcement Agencies across the state are coming together to increase their impaired driving enforcement efforts through September 6. Law Enforcement will be aggressively looking for impaired drives. For those drivers who are found driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .08 they will be over the limit and under arrest.

The campaign follow closely behind the new ignition interlock provision that went into effect August 15. The new provision under Leandra’s Law requires anyone convicted of a drunk driving charge to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he or she operates. This applies to people who are convicted on both felony and misdemeanor charges. Anyone required to install the ignition interlocking device will do so at his or her own expense.

In New York, the campaign is part of the states STOP-DWI efforts. STOP-DWI is an acronym for “Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated.” According to the New York State STOP-DWI Association, highly visible law enforcement efforts are an effective deterrent against impaired driving. It also serves to remind New Yorkers that DWI is still a top priority to all New York Law Enforcement Agencies.

New York State is recognized across the country as a leader in traffic safety. In particular the State is recognized for its continued progress in reducing the number of alcohol-related accidents and deaths. New York's STOP-DWI program was created in 1981 by the State Legislature. The program is financially elf-sustained and is funded entirely from the fines paid by convicted drunk drivers. The program has office in each of New York’s counties and empowers the counties to coordinate their own local efforts to combat impaired driving.

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