Police to conduct checks

The New York State Police will conduct a Thanksgiving holiday traffic enforcement period from Wednesday through Sunday in an effort to prevent tragedies caused by impaired, distracted, aggressive or reckless driving.

During this enforcement period, troopers will be highly visible, and drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols.

“All motorists should make safety their top priority this weekend,” said trooper Superintendent George P. Beach II. “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.

“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. Our troopers will be highly visible to ensure everybody has a safe Thanksgiving weekend.”

The state police will supplement regular patrols focusing on speed enforcement, impaired driving, underage drinking and distracted driving. The effort will also incorporate fixed sobriety checkpoints, an underage drinker initiative and the “Operation Hang Up” initiative, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on hand-held devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

The highest traffic volumes of the year typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. 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 for violation of the move-over law.

In New York, there were 19 deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes statewide during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2015. Of those, eight were due to alcohol-related crashes, seven were due to speed-related crashes and five resulted from crashes in which both speed and alcohol were reported as contributing factors, according to state police.

By Chad Fleck

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