October 9, 2020
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces State Police Columbus Day Weekend Traffic Enforcement

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Troopers will focus on Speeding and Impaired Motorists in North Country, Capital Region, Central New York and Hudson Valley

 

Statewide Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign to Run October 8 through October 12 

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police will conduct special traffic enforcement efforts for the upcoming Columbus Day Weekend to crackdown on speeding and impaired motorists. The Columbus Day campaign will begin on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 and run through Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Troopers expect increased traffic volume during the period due to the holiday weekend and fall tourism, which poses additional risks on our roadways. This enforcement detail will take place in the North Country, Syracuse region, Capital Region and the Catskills.

 

The targeted Columbus Day Weekend enforcement coincides with the statewide "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." mobilization to keep distracted drivers off the road. During this high-visibility campaign, State Police and local law enforcement from across the state will be cracking down on distracted driving throughout the holiday weekend.

 

"A fall foliage sightseeing trip is a great way for families to enjoy a safe and social distanced excursion, and our Troopers will be out patrolling to prevent needless tragedies caused by those who choose to speed or drive while impaired," Governor Cuomo said. "New York has zero tolerance for impaired and distracted drivers. I am urging all motorists to drive responsibly and save lives."

 

Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "We want drivers to understand that speeding and distracted driving can bring tragic consequences. Our Troopers will be highly visible during this traffic enforcement period to ensure that drivers are following the posted speed limits and removing reckless drivers from the road. We encourage drivers to do their part by obeying traffic laws, staying alert and designating a sober driver if they have been drinking. Together, we can keep our roadways safe for those who travel them." 

 

Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor's Traffic Safety Commission Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "This weekend is a great time to see the changing fall colors in New York State but one thing that should never change is being a safe driver. Distracted driving, speeding and impaired driving are preventable and needlessly put everyone on the road in danger. This weekend and whenever you travel, please follow the speed limit, put your phone away and always drive sober. If you're celebrating, have a plan to get home safely."

 

Motorists who are traveling this weekend can also expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols. Law enforcement will also be looking for motorists who are using their phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Drivers should also remember to "move over" for stopped emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road. 

 

Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of this crackdown in order to more easily identify motorists who are violating the law. CITE vehicles allow the Trooper to better observe driving violations.  These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated. 

The State Police are reminding all motorists to be safe, don't drink and drive, stay off your mobile phones while driving, drive the speed limit, and buckle up all occupants. The main goal of this initiative is to deter unsafe driving behaviors and raise awareness of the importance of traffic safety.

 

During the 2019 "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." mobilization, which is supportedby the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, more than 5,000 tickets were issued for distracted driving and more than 46,000 tickets were issued for other serious traffic violations such as impaired driving and speeding.

 

Tickets issued during last year's "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." enforcement campaign:

 

Violations

Number of Tickets

Distracted Driving 

5,184

Impaired 

1,298

Move Over Law 

398

Seat Belt

1,768

Speeding

9,194

Other Violation

34,288

Total

52,130

 

  

To help deter motorists from talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device, texting, or using an electronic device while driving, New York State has set strict penalties. The penalties can range from $50 to $450 in fines, 5 driver violation points, and suspension or revocation of license. 

 

Chief Timothy Parisi, Ilion PD and 1st Vice President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police said, "As we are well aware of the indiscriminate dangers that distracted driving poses on the roadways of our communities, we encourage our member agencies statewide to participate in this critical highway safety initiative."    

 

Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy, President of the New York State Sheriffs' Association, said, "Distracted driving puts you, your passengers, and all road users at risk.  Taking your eyes off the road to read a text, dial a number, even adjust your navigation or play with the radio is dangerous.  What, or who, will you hit during that time?  The Sheriffs of New York State want you to enjoy your time in the car, get to your destination, and do it safely without distractions." 

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