Planning safe travels for New Year’s Eve

LATHAM N.Y. – Police were out in full force on New Year’s Eve cracking down on DWI.

“Drivers can expect to see sobriety check points, an increase in presence of troopers on the roadway and there will be underage drinking initiatives at point of purchase to stem that situation as well,” New York State Trooper Mark Cepiel said.

It’s called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”– a national campaign that kicked off on December 12. It’s an effort the New York State Police is taking part in for another year to keep the roads safer over the holidays.

“Enforcement efforts tonight will be no different than any other night during the campaign itself,” Cepiel said.

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest nights for drunk drivers. The Albany County Sheriff’s Office was also out on patrol Wednesday night.

“Once you get up to the car, you start making observations of the driver,” Deputy PJ Milano said. “Their appearance, bloodshot eyes, glassy eyes, slurred speech. Obviously you can smell the alcoholic beverage coming from their breath.”

Milano also said there are other indicative clues prior to a traffic stop.

“Like not dimming your high beams, not staying in your lane, stopping for no reason, speeding up for no reason,” he said.

During the 2013 campaign, state police issued 3,800 tickets statewide, 630 of them were from DWI. Officials are urging New Year’s Eve revelers to have a plan before celebrating.

An option for traveling on New Year’s Eve besides driving is to take advantage of the safe ride programs that will provide all with a free taxi ride home.

STOP DWI programs across the Capital Region are teaming up with local law firm Martin, Harding and Mazzotti to offer free cab rides from 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 2 a.m. New Year’s Day for those who had too much to drink. To get a hold of one of the free cabs call 1-800-LAW-1010.

“As a personal injury law firm, we commonly see the effects of drunk driving,” Chas Farcher, attorney for MH&M, said. “We get plenty of cases here, people who were injured by drunk drivers, so we offer a safe ride home program that we sponsor for most major holidays.”

CDTA will also be offering free rides home at all regular bus stops starting at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve through 1 a.m. New Year’s Day.

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