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Cops on Long Island target impaired drivers during Super Bowl weekend

A DWI checkpoint along the Long Island Expressway

A DWI checkpoint along the Long Island Expressway on Jan. 2, 2011. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Police across Long Island will crack down on impaired driving over the Super Bowl weekend with increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints, authorities said.

The State Police STOP-DWI campaign, funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, runs from Saturday until 4 a.m. Monday, according to a news release. State Police will also be looking for underage drinkers and the use of electronic devices behind the wheel, in addition to drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol.

“Unlike the Super Bowl, there are no winners when someone makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle impaired," acting State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said in the release. "If you are going to be drinking, have a game plan to get home safely." 

During last year's Super Bowl enforcement period, authorities on Long Island issued 103 tickets for impairment to 61 people, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles' preliminary data. There were 21 crashes in that time frame, though none was fatal. 

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said the department has added extra patrols and will have a "zero tolerance" approach to impaired driving.

“With one of the largest competitive games scheduled for this weekend, I would like to urge all of our motorists using our roadways to refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs," Ryder said in a statement. "Watching the Super Bowl should be a time when our residents should be able to spend quality time with family and friends and not place anyone at risk on our roadways."

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart urged motorists to arrange for a safe ride home ahead of time if revelers plan to drink over the weekend.

“As people gear up to watch the Super Bowl this weekend, the Suffolk County Police Department will be on high alert for drivers under the influence,” Hart said in a statement. “There is no excuse to get behind the wheel under the influence when there are so many alternatives.”

If convicted of impaired driving, a motorist could face up to seven years in prison, a $10,000 fine and the revocation of his or her driver's license, according to the State Police. 

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