NEW YORK (NEWS10) – In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, New York State police and local law enforcement will increase patrols to combat drunk and impaired driving. Drivers can expect additional DWI patrols and sobriety checkpoints during the enforcement period, March 17 through March 19.

Several local law enforcement agencies in the Southern Tier announced their STOP DWI and High Visibility campaigns for the holiday weekend, as well. These include Bath Police, the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office, Elmira Police, Elmira Heights Police, Horseheads Police and West Elmira Police.

Governor Hochul comments, “Our message is clear: If you’re planning on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with alcohol, make plans for a safe ride home,” “We have zero tolerance for impaired driving, and I thank our State Police and local law enforcement who will be out in force all weekend.” During last year’s St Patrick’s Day, Troopers arrested 381 people for DWI, issued 754 tickets for distracted driving and 26,594 tickets in total.

Tips from The New York State Police and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee

  • Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night. 
  • Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home. 
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ridesharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely. 
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program 
  • Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home. 
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.

Those who decide to drive while under the influence can face jail time, loss of license, a higher insurance rate and other expenses. Charges related to impaired driving carry fines of up to $10,000.