The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced the start of STOP-DWI Month in New York State. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently issued a proclamation designating the month of November as STOP-DWI Month in New York. The New York State Special Traffic Options for Driving While Intoxicated (STOP-DWI) Program was established in November of 1981 to coordinate state and local efforts to reduce impaired-driving offenses and to prevent crashes across the state. Since the program was enacted, fatalities from alcohol-related crashes on New York’s roadways have decreased 74 percent.
“We have made tremendous progress in New York thanks to the STOP-DWI program, and we look forward to building on that success and continuing to save lives,” said Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “It is important this month, as so many families gather to celebrate the holidays, that we continue to spread the message that drunk driving is dangerous, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his support of this effort.” The NYS STOP-DWI Program is funded exclusively by fines collected from drunk and/or drugged driving convictions. It was the first program of its kind in the nation, and since it was enacted, has served as a model for similar programs across the country. The program empowers localities to enact creative and collaborative strategies utilizing education, awareness and enforcement to address drunk and drugged driving and prevent tragedies resulting from impaired-driving crashes. The program provides a platform for STOP-DWI Coordinators from each county and the City of New York to exchange ideas and collectively discuss and act upon mutual objectives that help advance these goals.
Through this collaboration, New York State has made significant progress in reducing drunk-driving crashes, injuries and fatalities. Since 2009, data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and research shows that all alcohol-related crashes in New York have decreased by nearly 10 percent. Fatal alcohol-related crashes have fallen by nearly 30 percent and personal injury crashes have declined almost 16 percent.
Robert Richards, Chair of the NYS STOP-DWI Association said, “Our team of STOP-DWI Coordinators work tirelessly each and every day to create and oversee comprehensive strategies to reduce the number of persons killed or injured in alcoholand/or drug-related traffic crashes. Our ongoing partnerships with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and our local agencies enable us to carry out the important mission that was issued to us when the STOP-DWI Program was established in November of 1981. We applaud the Governor for his continued leadership in traffic safety and for his continued support of the 58 local programs that comprise the STOPDWI Program.”
Sheriff Ron Spike, STOP-DWI Coordinator for Yates County said, Building on the success of the STOP-DWI Program, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, in partnership with the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation, support the state’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training program. DREs are utilized by law enforcement officials when a driver appears to be impaired but police have ruled out alcohol as the cause or sole cause of impairment. Yates County has one DRE with Deputy Charles Emerson who received extensive training that has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). We hope to train another deputy as a DRE as we are encountering drugs with DWI incidents more frequently. There are now 270 certified DREs statewide.