Poughkeepsie … Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced police agencies throughout Dutchess County will participate in a special enforcement effort to crack down on impaired driving, beginning on Friday, July 1st and ending on Monday, July 4th. The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and municipal law enforcement agencies will join agencies across the state and will be out in force in this coordinated effort to aggressively target those who put lives in danger.
Americans enjoy celebrating the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks; all too often, though, the festivities turn tragic on the nation's roads, as this iconic holiday is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to impaired-driving crashes.
County Executive Molinaro said, “The Fourth of July is a truly American holiday that celebrates our nation’s independence and is indeed cause for celebration. If you plan on including alcohol in your celebration this Independence Day, please also plan for a safe ride home – there is no excuse for impaired driving. As they do year-round, local law enforcement agencies will rid Dutchess County roadways of intoxicated drivers this holiday weekend, making our streets safe for motorists and pedestrians. We thank the dedicated men and women of law enforcement, who never take a holiday from protecting us all.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes that involved an alcohol-impaired driver in 2020. That same year, 493 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period; 41 percent of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. With many Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads at night. Over the July 4th holiday period in 2020, of the 201 people who died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, 85 percent of the fatalities occurred in nighttime crashes.
Research shows high visibility community engagement campaigns, such as this holiday weekend’s crackdown, can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem.
The Fourth of July weekend high visibility community engagement campaign is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Super Bowl Sunday, Labor Day weekend, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the national holiday season in December.
While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.
Drivers can help to make a difference by having a sober plan! Motorists can download the mobile app, “Have a Plan,” and be able to find a safe ride home www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp.