Police in Nassau and Suffolk will be cracking down on drunken driving this holiday weekend.
State Police, as well as county police departments, will be participating in a Fourth of July weekend STOP-DWI enforcement program that Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said will include “intensified police patrols” targeting drunken driving and drunken boating.
The program, funded by a special grant from the State STOP-DWI Coordinator’s Association and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, helps police implement a “drunk and drugged driving saturation enforcement strategy” for the holidays — a campaign, authorities said, to make streets and waterways safer for holiday weekend celebrants.
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said that statewide the agency issued almost 11,000 tickets during the July 4 holiday weekend in 2016, making 206 arrests for DWI while responding to 756 crashes — crashes that resulted in three fatalities. He said 121 other agencies participated in the program, statewide, making an additional 212 driving while intoxicated / driving while ability impaired arrests, six DWAI drug arrests and 114 other arrests while issuing another 1,821 summonses during the holiday weekend.
Nassau police made 78 DWI arrests during the July Fourth holiday weekend.
“Nassau County Police Officers will be targeting drunk drivers and boaters on land and sea looking to prevent the kind of senseless alcohol-related accidents that, unfortunately, often occur during a holiday,” Mangano said. “There will be additional police patrols throughout Nassau County and chances are if you drive drunk at any point, you will be arrested.”
Suffolk County police made 54 DWI arrests during last year’s July Fourth weekend, the department said.
Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco said his deputy sheriffs, trained in identifying impaired drivers, will be patrolling and using the Breath Alcohol Testing or BAT mobile unit.
“The Sheriff is cautioning everyone to designate a driver, call a cab or take away the keys from anyone who has had too much to drink or is otherwise impaired,” DeMarco said in a statement.
“Enjoy this Fourth of July with family and friends,” he said, “but remember that driving while intoxicated is a crime that comes with very serious penalties.”
Authorities warned drivers:
- If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out;
- Take mass transit, a cab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home;
- Spend the night where the activity is being held;
- Always buckle up — it’s your best defense against a drunken driver.
Beach, the State Police superintendent, said nationwide data shows the July 4 weekend is especially deadly.
State Police said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that 146 people died nationwide in alcohol-related crashes during the 2015 July 4 holiday, with two-thirds of those crashes involving at least one driver with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent — or, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent — or higher.
“If you drive drunk or drugged,” State Police said, “you not only put your life and the lives of others at risk, you could face arrest, jail time, and substantial fines and attorney fees.”
The average drunken-driving arrest costs an arrested suspect about $10,000 in costs and legal fees, authorities said.
With Joan Gralla