PUTNAM, N.Y. -- Before getting on the "green" this St. Patrick's Day, partiers will want to make sure they have a designated driver on hand to avoid landing in jail or even worse, killing or injuring someone by driving drunk.
To help keep the roads safe, Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith and Town of Carmel Police Department Chief Michael Cazzari announced Tuesday their departments will be out in force with increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints to be on the lookout for drunk drivers during the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
The extra sheriff’s deputies and town police officers will be deployed from Thursday, March 16 to Sunday, March 19, said Capt. William McNamara.
The stepped-up patrols are the latest action in ongoing efforts aimed at deterring intoxicated or impaired driving and are part of a statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown effort, McNamara added.
“St. Patrick’s Day is an occasion of celebration for folks of Irish heritage and for others who feel Irish for the day,” said Cazzari, “but, excessive celebrating can all too often result in some people overindulging in alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car.”
While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug-related fatalities, too many lives are still being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers, McNamara said.
Highly visible and publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce fatalities caused by drunken driving by as much as 20 percent, he added.
“We want to urge those who will be celebrating the holiday to make arrangements for getting home safely from parties, such as using taxis or designated drivers,” said Smith.
To help those who have a few "too" many, the STOP-DWI Foundation offers a smartphone app called “Have a Plan” that helps driver's find safe rides home. The app is available at www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp or at any app store.