Press Release - 12-14-2023

DMV news


Thursday, December 14, 2023 

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and New York State Police today offered New Yorkers advice on traveling and shopping safely this holiday season.

“It is a wonderful time of the year, and a time to make safe travel plans especially if you’re out celebrating,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) Chair. “Make a plan to either stay or have a safe ride home if you are impaired. If you’re bringing home a Christmas tree, make sure it is properly secured and does not obstruct your view.”

If you plan to go out celebrating during the holidays, use the Have a Plan app to help determine a safe way to get home. The free app from the GTSC and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation allows you to designate a driver, call a cab or ride share, and to review the consequences of impaired driving. You can even use the app to report an impaired driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.

Additionally, the 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' impaired driving enforcement campaign takes place December 14 to January 1. During that time, law enforcement officers statewide will be stepping up patrols.

State Police also offered tips to keep safe while shopping.

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick Chiumento said, “Criminals look for any opportunity to steal and take advantage of their victims. It may sound simple, but whether you are shopping at a large mall or in a quaint downtown, always be aware of your surroundings. Commonsense steps are the ones that will protect you from becoming a victim. Be sure to park your vehicle in a well-lighted, well-traveled area.  Always lock your car, make sure your windows are rolled up and secured, and leave no key fob behind. If you see something suspicious, report it to law enforcement or mall security immediately. Being alert and taking the appropriate precautions will help to keep you safe this holiday shopping season. Let’s look out for one another.”

State Police urged shoppers to be vigilant and offered the following additional tips:

  • Shop with a friend or in a group
  • If shopping alone, don’t be afraid to ask security to escort you to your car
  • Store purchases in the trunk of your vehicle, under a blanket or out of view
  • Do not leave valuables in your car
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep your money and credit cards in a front pocket

If snow falls during the holidays, motorists should make sure their vehicles are clear of snow before traveling. The snow should be fully removed from the front, rear and side windows, as well as the rear-view mirrors. It should also be removed from the roof and hoods, so it does not suddenly slide down the windshield or blow off and obscure the driver’s view or the view of other motorists.

DMV provides winter driving tips and guidance on how drivers should react if they encounter snow or ice, including how to handle a skid. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) also offers winter driving tips and suggests keeping emergency supplies in the vehicle.

Purchasing a real tree for the holidays? You need to make sure it is properly secured before driving. That also means the driver should have an unobstructed view out of all windows. Drivers can face penalties if an unsecured tree falls off their vehicle and it can become a dangerous hazard for other drivers.

Before traveling, motorists can check 511NY. Accessible 24 hours per day by calling 511 or visiting, the service provides real-time traffic conditions and links to information about air, rail and transit services.

If you’re planning to decorate a vehicle, DMV reminds motorists that it is not legal to put decorative lights on their car, truck or SUV, and doing so could lead to a ticket. Other decorations must be secured and not obscure the driver’s vision, the vehicle’s lights or the license plates.

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You can also follow the New York State Police on Facebook and X.