2010-08-27 / Top Stories

DMV: Watch Your Blood-Alcohol Level

The message from the Department of Motor Vehicles is clear. You better not drive drunk, because they are watching you.

Commissioner David J. Swarts of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC); John Sullivan, President of the New York State STOPDWI Association; Peter R. Kehoe, Executive Director of the New York State Sheriffs Association; John P. Melville, Acting Superintendent of the State Police; and Margaret Ryan, President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police; today reminded drivers that driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 will have them over the limit — and under arrest.

To help drive home that message, beginning Friday, August 20, police agencies across the state will join those nationwide in an 18-day impaired driving crackdown called “Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” The crackdown will culminate on Labor Day, September 6. At a news conference held in West Seneca, state and local law enforcement agencies noted they will be stepping up their enforcement efforts to coincide with the national initiative.

“STOP-DWI efforts have led to significant reductions in the number of alcohol related fatalities, but still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers,” said Commissioner Swarts, who also reminded drivers of the new ignition interlock provision under Leandra’s Law that went into effect August 15. “Those convicted of a misdemeanor or felony drunk driving charge – even if they are a first-time offender will be required to install an ignition interlock device at their own expense in any vehicle they operate.”

John F. Sullivan, President of the New York State STOP-DWI Association, Inc. said, “The STOP-DWI Association, a network of offices in every county in the state, is pleased to support this nationwide DWI crackdown campaign. Highly visible enforcement efforts are an effective deterrent and a reminder that DWI is a priority among New York police agencies. Our goal is to make the Labor Day holiday period a safe and enjoyable one for all New Yorkers.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent John P. Melville said, “Dangerous behaviors such as impaired and aggressive driving, speeding, not using safety restraints and texting while driving cause scores of senseless injuries and deaths on our highways.”

Officials say that it is important to keep in mind that every 40 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.

Despite years of calling attention to impaired driving and the tragedies that can be left behind when an impaired driver causes a crash, in 2008 there were still more than 9,000 alcohol related accidents in which almost 400 lives were lost in New York. While New Yorkers are less likely to be involved in an impaired driving crash today than in years past, highway officials do not want the public to become complacent about drinking or drug use and driving.

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