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Long IslandCrime

Police: Thanksgiving holiday drivers will see added patrols

Long Island’s three largest law-enforcement agencies said Tuesday they will crack down on distracted, aggressive and impaired drivers during the Thanksgiving holiday.

From Wednesday through Sunday, State Police will be highly visible and motorists can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional drunken-driving patrols, the agency said in a news release announcing its holiday traffic enforcement period.

Superintendent George P. Beach II said in the release that drivers during the extended holiday weekend should make safety a priority.

“Put away your smartphones, follow posted speed limits, make certain that all occupants are buckled up, and move over and slow down when you see emergency and highway maintenance vehicles on the side of the road,” Beach said.

“Remember, if your holiday weekend includes alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel. Get a ride home with a sober driver or make other arrangements.”

Nassau County police said they will intensify DWI patrols as well as anti-terror patrols over the weekend.

With the FBI alerting police departments across the nation of a potential terror attack, Nassau police will increase patrols at shopping areas, critical infrastructure, houses of worship and mass gatherings, County Executive Edward Mangano said.

Extra patrols to combat drunken driving also will be in place, he said.

The “STOP DWI” program, funded by DWI fines collected in Nassau County, will provide Nassau police and other police in the county with additional funding for implementing DWI saturation enforcement strategy, he said.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini also said Tuesday that his department will step up patrols during the extended weekend in an effort to focus on motorists who are violating laws, including DWI, not wearing seat belts and texting or using cellphones while driving.

Sini has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to provide more details.

The State Police initiative is designed to prevent accidents caused by impaired, distracted, aggressive or reckless driving, the agency said.

Normal patrols that focus on speed enforcement, impaired driving, underage drinking and distracted driving will be supplemented, the agency said. The emphasis will include sobriety checkpoints, an underage drinker initiative and “Operation Hang Up,” which targets distracted drivers by using Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on handheld devices.

During the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 218 drivers for DWI, issued 5,910 speeding tickets, 732 tickets for distracted driving and 204 tickets in connection with the move-over law.

In New York, State Police said there were 19 deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes statewide during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2015; eight were because of alcohol-related crashes, seven were from speed-related crashes and five from crashes in which both speed and alcohol were reported as contributing factors.

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