May 24, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Crack Down on Impaired and Reckless Driving This Memorial Day

Governor Hochul Announces Crack Down on Impaired and Reckless Driving This Memorial Day

Construction-Related Temporary Lane Closures on NYS Highways To Be Suspended for the Holiday Weekend

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New York State Police, along with local and county law enforcement statewide, will increase patrols to combat alcohol and drug-impaired driving and reckless driving throughout Memorial Day weekend. The STOP-DWI enforcement period starts at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2024, and runs through 11:00 p.m. on Monday, May 27, 2024. Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year and police will be out in force to remove impaired and reckless drivers from our highways.

“Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer driving season, and we want to ensure everyone gets where they are going safely,” said Governor Hochul. “I urge all motorists to drive responsibly and don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. Impaired driving is not tolerated in New York State.”

To help ease travel during the busy holiday weekend, temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended beginning 6 a.m. on Friday, May 24 to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28.

Motorists should be aware some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs. The construction suspension aligns with New York State’s Drivers First Initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.

New York State Police Superintendent Steven G. James said, “As we take time this Memorial Day to honor those who died in service to our county, we encourage all motorists to make safety the number one priority. Wear your seat belt, remain alert and above all, drive sober. If you do drink, do not get behind the wheel of any vehicle – instead, plan for a safe ride home. Troopers will be highly visible this weekend and will have zero tolerance for impaired and reckless drivers.”

Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governors Traffic Safety Committee Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “We want you to remember your Memorial Day weekend for all the right reasons: remembering those who sacrificed their lives for our country, enjoying time spent with friends and family, and kicking off your summer. We don’t want you to remember it for the wrong reasons: getting arrested, crashing your vehicle, or injuring yourself and others. Please be safe and do not drive while impaired.”

Thruway Authority Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said, “Tragically, a Thruway Authority maintenance worker was killed, and another seriously injured earlier this month when they were hit by a tractor trailer in a work zone. Safety is our top priority, and safe driving should also be a priority for every motorist. Slow down and move over when you see vehicles on the side of the road. Our employees and emergency personnel will still be out assisting motorists over the holiday weekend. We thank our partners at New York State Police Troop T for patrolling the Thruway and keeping motorists safe.”

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “It is our goal at the Department of Transportation to make travel as predictable and safe as possible, especially during days of high traffic volumes. But even with this pause in road work, it is imperative that drivers do their part to keep everyone safe. Put down your phones, always pay attention, and slow down and move over for any vehicles on the side of the road. Let’s work together to ensure everyone reaches their destinations safely this holiday weekend.”

Drivers can expect to see sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols by State Police along with local and county law enforcement agencies during this holiday weekend. Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of this crackdown 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 traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

This initiative is partially funded by the GTSC. 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 service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties, and a way to even report a suspected impaired driver.

On Memorial Day weekend in 2023, Troopers arrested 194 people for driving while impaired, issued 13,471 total tickets, and investigated 839 crashes, with no fatal crashes reported. In addition to the New York State Police, numerous counties and agencies throughout the state also participated in last year’s Memorial Day crackdown.

Motorists should follow the state’s Move Over Law, which was expanded in March to include drivers to slow down and move over for all vehicles stopped along the roadway including law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, maintenance vehicles and disabled vehicles that are stopped along roads across the state.

Text stops, including park-and-ride facilities, rest stops, service areas and parking areas along state highways support the state's effort to reduce distracted driving. All text stops will remain open, providing locations where drivers can safely and conveniently use their phones and other mobile devices for calling, texting, navigating and accessing mobile apps. Texting while driving is especially dangerous, as it requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off driving.

The Thruway Authority reminds motorists that 10 service areas are closed and under construction as part of the $450 million redevelopment  project.  Fuel services remain open at all locations. Motorists can view the service areas and plan their stops on the Thruway Authority's  website  and on the free mobile app.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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