In 1981, the New York State Legislature created the STOP-DWI program. STOP-DWI stands for Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Impaired. The driving force behind this legislation was Senator William T. Smith, whose daughter was killed in 1973 by a drunk driver.
Just this month, there was a wrong way driver, traveling westbound in the eastbound lane of I-287 in the city of White Plains. The driver, a 24-year old Ardsley woman, was found to be intoxicated and was taken into custody. Thankfully, there were no injuries, and she was charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, and multiple vehicle and traffic violations.
The STOP-DWI mission is built upon the following tenets: “prevention and education (don’t drink and drive); incapacitation (keep drinkers from driving); reform (treat individuals to prevent future offenses; and deterrence (change behavior through fear or consequences).”
In addition, certain holiday weekends become “crackdown weekends.” The crackdown weekends campaign targets Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas-New Year’s week, Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. These are all considered times when people attend parties and other functions that might lead to driving while impaired.
As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, the STOP-DWI Crackdown Weekend will be in place here in Westchester County, along with most of the other counties in the Hudson Valley. This means you should see a highly visible police presence and an increase in publicized efforts to reduce the incidence of DWI.
While the statistics have shown that these efforts have led to a reduction in the number of driving while impaired injuries and deaths, there are still far too many lives lost.
Enjoy this holiday weekend, but be safe and smart when on the roads.