DWI, Distracted Driving Holiday Crackdown In Effect For Westchester, State

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made texting while driving illegal in July, 2011, and this year, the fines have been increased. Photo Credit: nysenate.gov

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reminding Westchester County residents that state and local police will be enforcing distracted driving laws and utilizing sobriety checkpoints to deter drunk driving during the holiday season.

“As New Yorkers and visitors travel all across the state to visit friends and families for the holidays, we are ramping up enforcement efforts to keep our roads safe during this busy time of the year,” Cuomo said in a statement.  

“State Police have sobriety checkpoints throughout the state for everyone's safety this holiday season,” said State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico in a release.

Cuomo strengthened the New York’s DWI laws when he started an initiative in September, 2012 to keep drivers with a history of repeat alcohol or drug-related driving convictions off the road.

These new regulations include a lifetime record review of all drivers who apply to have a license reinstated after a revocation.

In addition, Leandra’s Law requires that first-time offenders driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs with a child less than 16 years old in the vehicle may be charged with a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

In July, 2011 Cuomo made texting while driving illegal, and this year the fines have been increased. The number of points on a license has also gone up from three to five for cell-phone related infractions.

In 2012, according to DMV statistics, there were 8,633 alcohol-related crashes in New York State reported by police, resulting in 358 people killed and 6,303 injured.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased nationwide by 4.6 percent in 2012, accounting for 31 percent of overall fatalities.

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