Festivities to celebrate St. Patrick's Day are already underway and New York State Police are keeping a watchful eye on the roadways. If you drive drunk this week, there is an increased chance you'll be pulled over and arrested.

New York State Police officials announced a crackdown period starting yesterday (Tuesday, March 16) and running through Sunday, March 21st. That crackdown will come in the form of additional DWI patrols and a number of sobriety checkpoints throughout the state.

State Police say these efforts are funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and are designed as extra persuasion to designate a driver or call an Uber as you're celebrating the Luck of the Irish. It doesn't take luck to be responsible and have a plan, in that way you create your own luck.

State Police will also be looking for those distracted drivers out there and will ticket motorists for cell phone (or other mobile device) use and will also be checking for underage drinking compliance. During last year's St. Patrick's Day enforcement period, State Police arrested 203 people for DWI and issued 12,279 tickets (372 for distracted driving).

State Police officials are offering a number of tips to help you prevent being put in handcuffs this week. State Police advise,

•    Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
•    Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
•    If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ridesharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
•    If available, use your community’s sober ride program
•    Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.  Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
•    If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.

The state offers a "Have a Plan" mobile app that will allow impaired drivers to formulate a designated driver list based on available taxi services. The app also warns of the dangers of drunk and impaired driving and the consequences associated with it. State Police say drunk driving kills over 10,000 people a year. Don't be the cause of another statistic and be sure to celebrate responsibly.

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