Authorities across Long Island are taking precautionary measures in preparation for expected drunk drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said this week that additional officers will be searching for DWI violators as part of the police department’s “STOP-DWI” program, which will run through the holiday weekend.
Suffolk police is also cracking down on drunk drivers. The department will disperse officers from all seven precincts and the Highway Patrol Bureau to county roads.
“Drivers should expect to see increased enforcement on the roadways throughout the weekend,” Suffolk police said in a news release.
New York State police said it will increase patrols beginning Friday and will add sobriety checkpoints throughout the Island. Police will also be keeping a close eye on anyone selling alcohol to minors.
“We are starting our enforcement St. Patrick’s Day weekend with full knowledge there will be numerous parties and events where alcohol may be consumed, and we are asking everyone who drinks to designate a driver or arrange safe transportation in advance,” said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico.
Last year, troopers made 504 DWI arrest and issued 11,663 tickets.
While it is common for people to drink in celebration of a holiday weekend, officials urge everyone not to be careless, and rather have an alternate plan in case of intoxication.
“We want you to have a good time,” Mangano said. “However we ask that you make responsible and smart decisions during your celebrations, and plan accordingly so everyone can return home safely to their loved ones.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 31 percent of traffic deaths in the year 2010 were alcohol related. While drunk driving continues to be a national epidemic, Mangano and Dale said they are committed to bringing down that statistic.
“There will be additional police patrols all around Nassau County,” Mangano said, “and chances are if you drive drunk you will be arrested.”