November 26, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Crackdown on Impaired and Distracted Driving Over Thanksgiving Holiday

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Crackdown on Impaired...

Law Enforcement Will Also Target Speeding and Move Over Law Violations

More than 15,100 tickets issued and 215 people arrested for DWI statewide during last year's enforcement



Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will participate in a special traffic enforcement initiative to crack down on unsafe driving behaviors during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. The special traffic enforcement period runs from Wednesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 1, 2019.


"Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year and our focus is helping ensure everyone gets where they need to go safely so they can spend quality time with family and loved ones," Governor Cuomo said. "State Troopers and local law enforcement will be highly visible in the coming days, cracking down on impaired and reckless drivers - and I urge drivers to follow the law and make safety your top priority while out on the roads."


The State Police will supplement regular patrols statewide, including fixed sobriety checkpoints, underage drinking enforcement and the "Operation Hang Up" initiative, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on hand held devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.


Very high traffic volumes typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 215 drivers for DWI, issued 5,834 speeding tickets, 774 tickets for distracted driving, and 218 tickets for move over law violations.


New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "During this Thanksgiving holiday weekend I encourage all New Yorkers to make safety their top priority. If your celebrations include alcohol, plan ahead to ensure you have a safe ride home. There's simply no excuse to get behind the wheel if you're impaired, and State Troopers will have zero tolerance. Make the right choice and avoid the senseless tragedies caused by impaired driving."


Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Chair and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee is proud to support law enforcement in this life-saving initiative. We want everyone to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday and not have their celebration ended by an avoidable tragedy. We urge motorists to never drink and drive or speed and to always avoid distractions. By making the choice to drive responsibly, you will spare yourself a potential ticket or arrest and, more importantly, you will help reduce needless deaths and injuries on our roadways. The life you save could be your own."


The Thanksgiving impaired driving enforcement initiative is funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. 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.
Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office