ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Whilst folks are out-and-about enjoying the many festivities of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, it is critical to celebrate responsibility.

Law enforcement across the state will be on patrol ensuring people are doing just that.

The annual STOP-DWI high visibility campaign is in effect and runs through Sunday.

It happens on several ‘high risk’ weekends such as Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and St. Patrick’s Day, maximizing grant funding to allow additional overtime for officers to be staffed.

“Statistically speaking, this weekend is a high impact event for drunk or drugged drivers,” says Special Operations Captain with Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Rick Bancroft.

Vices aside from alcohol, even prescribed medication, can still impair one’s ability to drive. Captain Bancroft is also what’s called a ‘D.R.E.’ which stands for ‘Drug Recognition Expert’.

When you think of a standard DWI stop, it most likely conjures an image of a field sobriety test and alcohol. But a breathalyzer won’t gauge drug amount, so law enforcement has adapted and evolved.

“They peform additional tests above-and-beyond the standard officer to give the court more testimony as to why this person was impaired by a drug, or cocaine, or heroin or marijuana,” says Captain Bancroft.

“Since alcohol’s a member of the CNS [sic, central nervous system] depressive category, Drug Recogition Experts just take the training that they get in the academy and they build on that to check for blood pressure, pupil size, pupil response under different lighting conditions, body temperature, muscle tone, and you put together a totality picture based upon the body’s phisiological responses,” he adds.

Last year, according to the Monroe County STOP DWI, there were two lives lost to alcohol-realted crashes the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day. These are all considered preventable, too, as it takes a choice to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence.

“In this Lyft and Uber, it’s so simple just to grab a car that’s not yours and get home much more safely and it doesn’t cost that much. I would say Lyft and Uber is far, far less expensive when you compare to court fines, or the emotional impact to a family if you hit and injure somebody,” Captain Bancroft says.

Another recommendation for those who may be hosting a party or gathering: have a key collection bowl and do your part to ensure your family, friends, and neighbors make it home safely.

Additional resources can be found here.