Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Police will participate in a special traffic enforcement initiative to crack down on unsafe driving behaviors through Thanksgiving weekend. The special traffic enforcement period runs from Wednesday, November 22, 2023, through Sunday, November 26, 2023 and will focus on impaired and distracted driving as well as speeding and the Move Over Law.
“The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and our goal is to ensure that everyone gets where they need to go safely,” Governor Hochul said. “State Troopers and local law enforcement will be out in force working to prevent needless accidents. I urge drivers to follow the rules of the road and make safety your top priority while traveling this holiday season.”
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento said, “Every year there are preventable tragedies and a wake of victims left behind because of the decisions made by reckless and impaired drivers. As we drive throughout the state to see our family and friends this holiday season, we need to make safe driving imperative. If you’re celebrating with alcohol, I encourage you to designate a sober driver and plan for a safe ride home. I thank the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee for their support and collaboration on this pivotal enforcement. Our troopers remain committed to ensuring everyone’s safety and by motorists making the right choices, together we can prevent needless tragedies on our roadways.”
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “It’s a wonderful time of year to gather with family and friends so don’t risk spoiling your holiday or anyone else’s by driving while impaired. I thank our troopers and local law enforcement for working on Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays to help keep our roads safe.”
Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said, “Over the next week, thousands of motorists will be traveling across the state to spend the Thanksgiving with family and friends. Suspending construction for the holiday weekend will help minimize delays, but motorists should be aware New York State Police, emergency personnel and Thruway employees will still be on the road assisting motorists and responding to incidents. We thank New York State Police for their partnership in keeping the Thruway one of the safest superhighways in the country.”
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Thanksgiving is a time to be together with friends and family, but also a time when our roads are especially busy. To help make travel easier and safer for everyone, we will be suspending construction activities through the holiday weekend as law enforcement agencies focus their efforts on the safety of the traveling public. While we want to do our part to ensure everyone gets to their destinations safely, we need motorists to do their part as well. Be responsible and follow the rules of the road by avoiding impaired or distracted driving. Let’s all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.”
In an effort to ease travel during the busy Thanksgiving weekend, temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, November 22 through 6 a.m. on Monday, November 27. Motorists are advised that some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers for emergency repairs. The construction suspension aligns with New York State’s Driver’s First initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.
The Thruway Authority reminds motorists that 12 service areas are closed and under construction as part of the $450 million private investment and modernization project. Fuel services remain open at all locations. Motorists can view the service areas and plan their stops on the Thruway Authority’s website and on the free mobile app.
The State Police will supplement regular patrols statewide, including fixed sobriety checkpoints, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on handheld devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.
Elevated traffic volumes typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 213 drivers for DWI, issued 4,757 speeding tickets, and 425 tickets for distracted driving.
The Thanksgiving impaired driving enforcement initiative is funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their “Have a Plan” mobile app, is available for Apple, Android and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi or rideshare service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties and provides a way to report a suspected impaired driver.
If you drive drunk or drugged, you not only put your life and the lives of others at risk, you could face arrest, jail time, and substantial fines and attorney fees. 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 Police, GTSC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend these simple tips to prevent impaired driving:
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ride sharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
- Use your community’s sober ride program;
- If you suspect a driver is drunk or impaired on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement;
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.