Press Release -12-9-2021

DMV news

Thursday, December 9, 2021


Agencies Offer Tips to Keep Motorists Safe and Consumer Purchases Secure

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and New York State Police today urged New Yorkers to be cautious and take steps to keep themselves safe while driving and shopping this holiday season. Both agencies offered tips to promote highway safety and help consumers keep their purchases secure.

“The holidays are a special time of year that should be filled with happy memories and not tragedies caused by poor planning or poor decisions,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) Chair. “There are simple steps a motorist can take -- such as properly securing trees before transporting them, keeping free from distractions while driving, and having a plan to ensure they will never drive while impaired -- that will help keep themselves and others safe on the road.”

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “Criminals will 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 shopping small, always be aware of your surroundings. The commonsense steps are the ones that will protect you from becoming a victim. Being alert and taking the appropriate precautions will help to keep you safe this holiday shopping season.”

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

DMV urges drivers who plan to go out celebrating during the holidays to 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 a drunk or drugged driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.

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 to help motorists prepare for travel and guidance should 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.

Motorists are advised to check 511NY before traveling. The free travel information system is 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.

DMV reminded New Yorkers who are purchasing a real tree to make sure it is properly secured before driving. The driver should have an unobstructed view out of all windows. Drivers can face penalties if an unsecured tree falls off their vehicle.

According to a 2019 AAA survey, an estimated 84 million Americans plan to purchase a real tree, and 44 percent of them will transport the tree using unsafe methods. Failure to properly secure a tree risks dangerous road debris and damage to your vehicle and others. Previous AAA research found that road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes during a four-year period, resulting in about 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.

In regard to decorating 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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