The NYPD plans to crack down on speeding and drunk driving over the Memorial Day weekend.
Officials with the NYPD and NYC Dept. of Transportation along with elected leaders announced the crack down during a press conference at One Police Plaza Friday, as well as advocated for the passage of state legislation that would lower the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold from .08% to .05%.
“Drinking and driving ruins lives, and we have a shared responsibility to keep each other safe this holiday weekend,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We are proud to work with our Vision Zero partners to reduce speeding, DWI, and driving under the influence of cannabis.”
The NYPD said that it will step up enforcement from Friday through early Tuesday. Enforcement will occur along highways and on local streets, and it will be conducted by NYPD Highway Patrol as well as by local precincts.
Holidays, according to the officials, tend to be a time when drink driving peaks.
“As we head into the holiday weekend, the NYPD will step up enforcement to make sure all of our road users enjoy a safe Memorial Day weekend,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Y. Royster. “Our highly trained highway patrol units will be laser focused on impaired drivers.”
The officials also called on Albany to pass legislation that has been introduced in both the state senate and assembly that would lower the blood alcohol threshold to .05%. The reduction, they say, would reduce DWI fatalities by about 10% and would be in line with the BAC in countries such as Australia, Argentina, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
The advocates for the legislation say that 30% of crashes in the state involve alcohol. They also note that 43 traffic fatalities in New York City in 2021 were tied to DWI.
The bill is sponsored in the senate by Sen. John Liu, who represents northeast Queens, and in the assembly by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, whose district covers Downtown Brooklyn and adjacent neighborhoods.
“With the dramatic rise in traffic deaths at the hands of drunk drivers in recent years, lowering the BAC limit from .08% to .05% is desperately needed to adequately tackle this epidemic of traffic violence,” Simon said in a statement.
“The rest of the developed world has long since adopted stricter BACs that have proven to save lives, it is completely irresponsible we haven’t done everything in our power to stop these tragedies.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said he supports the legislation and this weekend’s enforcement.
“I am very pleased there will be stepped up enforcement against intoxicated driving this weekend. I also fully support lowering the DWI threshold to .05% from .08%, a level that is much too high.”