Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus signed legislation to authorize programming for the Dutchess County STOP-DWI Program in the amount of $542,700 to achieve Dutchess County’s annual plan of activities and objectives for 2005. The STOP-DWI program’s mission is to deter drunk/drugged driving through enhanced enforcement, prosecution, rehabilitation and public information/education services.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “The number of driving while impaired infractions are up. We believe that is a direct result of the dedicated efforts of STOP-DWI funding to support a no tolerance level of sobriety when operating a motor vehicle. Over time, this funding can bring that number down through increased check points, education and rehabilitation programs until people ultimately get the message - you cannot drink and drive.”
Dutchess County STOP-DWI data reveals impaired driving arrests are up countywide in 2004 because of increased law enforcement focus (average 175 per month through September compared to 128 per month in 2003 and 125 per month in 2002). Law enforcement personnel affected 1,540 impaired driving arrests countywide in 2003.
The County’s share of the funding for the STOP-DWI Program is allocated across a group of local agencies. Over $300,000 of the 2005 allocation will be utilized by the Dutchess County Sheriff for training and conducting sobriety checkpoints; the Dutchess County District Attorney’s office will house a specialized DWI Prosecution Unit; and the County’s Department of Probation and Community Corrections will operate a specialized DWI Intensive Supervision Program for offenders through this funding.
Other local agencies benefiting from this plan include:
Training, sobriety checkpoints and over-time patrols for ten local law enforcement agencies throughout Dutchess County including; City of Beacon, City of Poughkeepsie, Town of East Fishkill, Town of Fishkill, Town of Poughkeepsie, Town of Hyde Park, Village of Fishkill, Village of Rhinebeck, Village of Wappingers Falls and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office;
$3,500 to the City of Beacon Police Department to conduct two (2) Standardized Field Sobriety Training (SFST) courses for law enforcement personnel from throughout the county.
Rehabilitation efforts for offenders include service contracts with the Lexington Center for Recovery, The Dutchess County Council on Alcohol and Chemical Dependency (DCCACD) and Dutchess County RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) for alcohol evaluation and rehabilitation services, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) group, an Alcohol/Highway Safety Educator, support for the annual “SADD” (Students Against Drunk Driving) conference, and the College Consortium to conduct outreach in educating area college students.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has not released any traffic safety data since 2001. It is however worthy to note that even with continued population growth and significant increases in traffic volume on county roadways the percentage of alcohol related crashes to the total number of crashes has remained constant at approximately 4% of the total since 1995. In general there have seen slight increases in the numbers of alcohol related events since the last data (2001) was released. The 2001 data reveals 229 alcohol related crashes (4.3% of the total), 234 alcohol related injuries out of the 3,744 total injuries (6.3%), and 16 alcohol related fatalities out of the 42 total (38.1%).
The Dutchess County STOP-DWI Planning Board remains committed to a comprehensive program using proactive, research based activities and services. The program is self-sufficient with no support from local taxes. Programming is one hundred percent (100%) funded from fines assessed to impaired driving convictions in Dutchess County.