Press Release - 08/15/2018

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Tuesday, August 15, 2018

Lisa Koumjian
[email protected]



Video and Photos

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, and law enforcement today announced the start of a two-week long, statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement and education initiative designed to prevent drunk and drugged driving. The enforcement will run from August 17 through Labor Day, September 3.

State and local law enforcement joined the DMV and GTSC Wednesday at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse to launch the campaign and emphasize the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The ”Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement is part of a nationwide effort to discourage drunk and drugged driving.

SOUND BITES from the press conference are available here. Speakers appear in the following order:

  • Deputy Commissioner Janet Ho, New York State DMV
  • Sgt. John LaPlante, New York State Police
  • Sheriff Eugene Conway, Onondaga County
  • Sgt. Gail Barrella, Town of Geddes Police Department
  • Wendy Peters, Victim of Drunk Driving Crash

“We do not want anyone’s summer to end with a tragedy,” said Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “This time of year, we know there are a lot of parties, concerts and fun events, so we urge everyone to enjoy these outings responsibly. Drive sober or designate a sober driver, call for a ride, take a cab or rideshare service. Highly trained officers can spot the signs of impairment in a matter of seconds.  They will not only be out in force during this campaign, they patrol New York’s roadways all year long and their goal is to stop dangerous drivers and keep all travelers safe.”

Officials are reminding New Yorkers to download the free “Have a Plan” mobile app made available by GTSC and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation. The app allows people to locate and call a taxi or rideshare service, program a designated-driver list, and educate themselves on Blood Alcohol Content levels. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties and even enables app users to report a suspected impaired driver. The app is free and available for Apple, Droid, and Windows smart phones.

While drunk driving crashes are on the decline—there were 7,938 drunk driving crashes in 2017 compared to 8,613 crashes in 2010—the number of crashes involving drug-impaired drivers is on the rise. In 2010, there were 1,262 crashes involving drug impairment. In 2017, there were 1,550.

To combat this increase, New York is offering specialized training for officers to recognize the signs of drug-impaired driving. In June, 22 law enforcement officers from across New York State completed extensive training to become nationally-certified Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). New York now has 277 certified DREs statewide.

The DRE training program has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). DREs are trained to observe and document signs and indicators of impairment within each of seven drug categories including illicit and prescription drugs. They can make arrests and remove impaired drivers from New York State roadways regardless of the drug or drug combinations that are causing impairment.

State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "One of our top priorities is traffic safety and ensuring the well-being of all who use New York’s roadways. During this campaign, we will step up our enforcement efforts to remove intoxicated and drug impaired drivers from our roadways before they injure or kill innocent motorists and their passengers. While we want everyone to enjoy the final few weeks of summer, we want them to do so responsibly. We have zero tolerance for reckless individuals who choose to drive while impaired.”

To learn more about New York State’s DRE program visit More information about preventing drunk and drugged driving is available at