New Year’s revelers opting to drive home after belting down a few too many should know this: Both Nassau and Suffolk counties are increasing police patrols this week to catch those drivers before they harm themselves or others.
“The message from the Suffolk County Police Department is simple: Don’t drink and drive. It is not worth it,” Deputy Police Commissioner Tim Sini said Thursday at a news conference at police headquarters in Yaphank.
More than a dozen Suffolk patrol vehicles will be designated for DWI patrols, including two on the East End, starting from 4 p.m. Thursday into the early hours of New Year’s Day, Sini said.
Given the added Nassau patrols, “chances are if you drive drunk at any point over New Year’s Eve, you will be arrested,” County Executive Edward Mangano said Tuesday in a news release.
“Be smart,” he said. “A taxi is a much better choice than the back seat of a patrol car.”
Last year, 26 were arrested in Nassau on DWI charges over the New Year’s holiday, officials said.
Suffolk police made 15 DWI arrests last New Year’s Eve and into New Year’s Day, said Sini.
“There’s nothing more sad than coming up on a traffic fatality that could have been avoided,” he said.
Yes, the added patrols will increase the chances for drivers under the influence to be arrested. But, “we would rather that people just don’t do it,” he said.
Said acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas: “Be part of the solution by thinking ahead and choosing not to drive while impaired.” Her office committed $100,000 to Nassau’s added DWI enforcement efforts from Thanksgiving Eve through New Year’s Day.
That’s added to funding from the state Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee through the state’s Stop DWI Foundation, officials said.
A key element of boosting and publicizing such initiatives is the deterrent factor.
“Research findings demonstrate that highly visible, publicized efforts like the STOP DWI crackdowns can further reduce the incidence of DWI,” according to the association’s website, stopdwi.org.
Among the steps that partyers can take:
- Before going out, choose a designated driver who agrees to celebrate with nonalcoholic beverages.
- Plan ahead and look to taxis, buses, limo services and trains. Ask the bartender for phone numbers.
- If need be, bunk down where the party is being held.
If you’re tipsy at an establishment in Nassau County or eastern Queens, you can call All Island Transportation at 516-326-9090 for a free ride home as well as a free ride back to your car the next day.
With Darran Simon