John P. Grebert, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police said, "Our entire law enforcement community stands united with the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and all of our highway safety partners in targeting impaired driving, a fundamental and persistent threat to public safety. The impaired driving 'crackdown' serves as an example to promote and highlight this endeavor through enforcement, education and awareness. This high visibility enforcement campaign will save lives and improve highway safety across the State."
Peter R. Kehoe, Executive Director of the New York State Sheriffs Association said, "Our Sheriffs' Deputies will be out in force, joining with the State Police and local police departments, to try to assure that no drivers turn this joyous holiday into a day of tragedy for themselves or others. We don't want to dampen anyone's fun. We just want to make sure they live to enjoy many more St. Patrick's Days."
The six major STOP-DWI Crackdowns target popular celebration weekends during 2008. The St. Patrick's Day effort from March 14-18 is the second crackdown this year. The first was during the weekend of the Super Bowl from January 28-February 4. The other large crackdown celebration periods include: from June 27-July 6 for the Fourth of July; August 13-September 2 for Labor Day; October 24-November 2 for Halloween; and November 21-January 1, 2009 for the Thanksgiving through New Year's holiday season.
While these crackdown periods produce positive results, it is important to keep in mind that every 30 minutes, someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related crash. Last year alone, more than one million people nationwide were injured in automobile crashes in which alcohol was a factor. In fact, during 2006 in New York, there were 7,959 alcohol-related accidents in which 397 people were killed.
STOP-DWI stands for "Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated." The STOP-DWI program was enacted for the purpose of coordinating local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related crashes in a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program. The STOP-DWI program permits each of the state's counties to establish a STOP-DWI Program that qualifies for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses occurring within its jurisdiction.
All 62 counties have opted to participate. Each county appoints a STOP-DWI Coordinator, whose duties include the coordination of efforts by agencies involved in alcohol and highway safety. Although the development and implementation of STOP-DWI programs rests with the counties, the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles is charged with the task of approving county STOP-DWI plans.