L ocal law enforcement agencies will be stepping up patrols as they try and crackdown on drinking and driving during the busy holiday season.
A number of local departments, including the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, will be participating in Stop-DWI crackdowns, a statewide effort to curb drunk driving.
“We will be participating in the the crackdown,” said county Undersheriff John Winchell. “It will be a cooperative effort between the Sheriff’s department and some of the local village departments.”
Winchell said there will be random DWI checkpoints held throughout the county this weekend.
The Granville Police Department won’t necessarily be participating in the Stop DWI crackdown, but they will be out.
“This weekend will be treated just like any other weekend or New Year’s Eve in the past for us.
We haven’t had many issues in the past, there are a lot of designated drivers and people know that law enforcement will be out there,” said Ernie Bassett, Granville Police Chief.
Much like their counterparts in Granville, the Whitehall Police Department won’t necessarily have extra patrols but as always will be on the lookout for drunk drivers.
The STOP DWI crackdown is a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program. The program allows for all sixty-two counties in the state to qualify for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and drug related traffic offenses that occur with their jurisdiction.
Winchell said the program received additional funding this year and the latest crackdown is the seventh such program the state has conducted this year.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, over the last five years there have been 1,723 driving under the influence-related fatalities in New York State.
In 2011, there were 55 alcohol reported crashes in Washington County resulting in 36 injuries and three deaths.
Studies have shown that a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08% is 50 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than a driver who is completely sober. The same driver with a BAC of .10% is 240 times more likely to die in a car accident.
The same study found that 3 out of 10 people will be involved in an alcohol related crash during their lifetime.
A DWI conviction in New York can cost on average, between $5,500 and $9,140 after you factor in fines, surcharges and increases in automobile insurance