NEW YORK (WWTI) – New York State Police and local law enforcement will increase patrols targeting impaired and reckless drivers during the Halloween weekend, beginning on Friday.

Sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols will be utilized during the crackdown on impaired driving. Officers will also be looking for drivers using phones and other electronic devices. Drivers should remember to “move over” for emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road.   

“My focus this Halloween weekend is to keep New Yorkers safe with zero tolerance for impaired driving,” Governor Hochul said. “If your Halloween celebrations include alcohol, plan for a safe ride home with a sober driver. Those who take the risk and drive impaired will end up facing the consequences of breaking the law.”

State Police will target the sale of alcohol to minors through underage drinking enforcement details statewide.

Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to the high number of impaired drivers on the roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 129 drunk-driving fatalities nationwide on Halloween night between 2016 and 2020.

Troopers arrested 133 people for DWI during last year’s initiative and issued 7,824 tickets for speeding, distracted driving and other traffic violations, according to data provided by the governor’s office. They investigated 566 crashes.

The following tips are recommended to prevent impaired driving:  

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
  • If 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 a driver is suspected to be drunk or impaired on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement; and
  • If someone 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. 

The “Have a Plan” mobile app is available for Apple and Android smartphones. The app allows New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi or rideshare service and program a designated driver list. The app also provides information on DWI laws and penalties and a way to report suspected impaired drivers.

“While having fun on Halloween with friends and family, remember to never drive impaired and be extra cautious for pedestrians. Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable by always planning for a safe ride to the destination. GTSC proudly supports this enforcement campaign to help get reckless drivers off the road.” New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said.

The governor’s office reminds drivers that driving drunk or drugged doesn’t only put their life and the lives of others at risk, but they could also face arrest, jail time and substantial fines and attorney fees. The average drinking and driving arrest costs an individual up to $10,000. 

Individuals convicted of drunk or drugged driving face the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, fines, court costs, car towing and repairs and lost time at work.

“Halloween is a fun night for people of all ages, however, fun can quickly turn to tragedy if done so irresponsibly. If you’re not old enough to drink, don’t. If your Halloween plans include alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel and plan for a safe ride home,” Steven A. Nigrelli, New York State Police Acting Superintendent said. “Motorists should take extra caution while driving by trick-or-treaters and pedestrians by slowing down and moving over. There’s no trick, by following these simple steps you could save your life or someone else’s.”