ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An issue that goes a lot further than just driving you crazy, it will make you downright angry. People who drink too much and then choose to get behind the wheel.
NEWS10 ABC’s Rachel Yonkunas went out with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office to see how bad the problem is here.
Just after 8:30 on a Friday night, Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy Corey Andrus takes us on patrol.
We didn’t have to go far, in fact, one mile down the road.
“See that right there? He was just in our lane pretty much,” Deputy Andrus said.
We would soon learn just how dangerous this driver is.
Catching up to him, he has trouble staying in his lane and constantly crossing over the double yellow lines.
“A lot of times, it’s texting too, which kind of mimics the same thing as driving under the influence, because people aren’t paying attention.”
It’s enough to warrant a traffic stop.
“Swerving all over the road, there is a heavy odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle, slurred speech, he’s got bloodshot eyes,” Deputy Andrus said. “You can tell his motor skills are slow. He’s reaching for stuff and missing where he’s grabbing basically.”
Sheriff Craig Apple says it does not shock him at how many people are still drinking and driving. He says it’s not uncommon to see more than 200 offenders each month.
That’s despite the resources like their stop DWI program and steep consequences.
Mandatory fines for the first offense hit upwards of $2,000.
“You pay some hefty fines and see an insurance increase if they can get insurance. Many people can’t. Unfortunately, it gets worse. I have people sitting in the county jail that have 3, 4, 5, 6 of these and it’s unbelievable,” Sheriff Apple said.
In Albany County, an aggravated DWI starts at 0.14.
If you have to think about getting behind the wheel, Sheriff Apple says think about who your choice will affect.
“It could be your son, it could be your nephew, it could be your niece. Think about them out there,” Sheriff Apple said.
The CDC says about one-in-three traffic deaths in the U.S. involve a drunk driver.
Sheriff Apple always stresses if you have a little buzz going, you’re drunk.