ALBANY — The anuual Labor Day STOP-DWI crackdown is underway.
The statewide enforcement campaign will continue through Monday, Sept. 2, New York State Police said in a news release.
State and local law-enforcement agencies have been out in force since Aug. 16, utilizing sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to deter drunk driving.
Motorists are reminded that driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher will put them over the limit.
Police will also be cracking down on drivers who are impaired by drugs, both illegal and prescription.
Leandra’s Law sets some of the toughest DWI provisions in the country. First-time offenders driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs with a child under age 16 in the vehicle may be charged with a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison. Convicted drivers must install and maintain an ignition interlock on any vehicle owned or operated by the driver for a minimum period of six months.
In 2011, according to DMV statistics, 8,461 alcohol-related crashes were investigated by police, resulting in 362 people killed and 6,121 injured.
Someone is killed every 51 minutes, on average, in a drunk-driving crash in the United States. The majority of these crashes involve drunk drivers who have nearly twice the legal BAC of .08 or higher.
In another move to increase convenience and safety, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced this week that most construction projects on the New York State Thruway and main routes overseen by the State Department of Transportation will be suspended over Labor Day weekend, historically one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
The Drivers First initiative prioritizes the convenience of motorists and ensures that disruptions are as minimal as possible at highway and bridge projects across the state.
The American Red Cross urged people to remain vigilant while driving this weekend.
The agency offered these tips for safe travel:
▶ Carry an emergency supply kit in your trunk.
▶ Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive.
▶ Buckle up and observe speed limits.
▶ Don’t drink and drive.