Press Releases

December 23, 2021
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Vision Zero: De Blasio Administration Cracks Down on DWI and DUI Ahead of Winter Holiday Season

NYPD will focus holiday enforcement and education efforts on speeding and DWI

City announces new public awareness campaign on Cannabis Safety, which will begin running this week on social media and radio streaming platforms

NEW YORK – The New York City Police Department (NYPD), The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) today announced major initiatives to crack down on speeding and drunk driving ahead of the holidays, as well as increase public awareness of traffic safety laws and cannabis safety now that it is legal to possess. The City also continued its call for 24/7 speed camera enforcement.

"As the holiday season reaches its peak, we are proud to work with our Vision Zero partners on annual holiday enforcement – keeping New Yorkers safe from speeding, DWI, and driving under the influence of cannabis," said NYC DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. "We also continue our call for around the clock speed camera coverage in order to drive down traffic fatalities."

"All of our NYPD traffic safety tools will be employed in unison with our government partners this holiday season to ensure that everyone who walks, bikes, drives and travels in New York City can do so safely," said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster. "Our NYPD highway and patrol units are adding extra layers of enforcement, across all five boroughs. We're raising awareness about the dangers of impaired driving and other poor choices that motorists make behind the wheel. We're asking all New Yorkers to share in the responsibility of keeping our roads and highways safe. Only by working together can we maintain one another's well-being as we celebrate the joy of the holidays."

"The TLC wants for all New Yorkers to have the safest holiday season," said TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. 'We are counting on all drivers to be extra vigilant in obeying traffic rules, including speed limits. We encourage those celebrating to not drink and drive or operate vehicles under the influence. Play it safe by hailing a Yellow or Green Taxi or prearrange a car service to get you to your celebratory destinations and home."

"By addressing risks like consuming cannabis or alcohol and driving, we embolden Vision Zero's efforts to improve road safety during the holiday season and beyond," said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, "If you drink or consume cannabis, don't drive. Do it for your own safety and for the safety of everyone in your community."

At least 30 of this year's traffic fatalities were related to Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), which has an increased risk on weekend nights and holidays. Building on NYPD's DWI enforcement campaigns and Vision Zero's education efforts, the city has developed a new safety campaign focused on deterring driving while under the influence of now legalized cannabis.

Today's Vision Zero announcement includes:
NYPD Holiday Enforcement: NYPD will increase enforcement of speeding and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) throughout the holiday season and beyond. Enforcement will occur along highways and on local streets where excessive speeds have been observed, including by DOT speed cameras. Enforcement will be conducted by NYPD Highway Patrol as well as by local precincts.

New Safety Campaign on Cannabis: DOT in coordination NYPD, and DOHMH announced a new safety awareness campaign to remind drivers that while cannabis is now legal to possess, it is still illegal and dangerous to drive while under its influence. The paid media campaign, which starts running this week, will include streaming radio spots and social media posts both sponsored and across our Vision Zero partners' channels.

The usage of cannabis before or while driving can negatively affect a number of skills required for safe driving, including slowed reaction times, distorted perception and impaired coordination.

Throughout December, DOT street teams have been talking to New Yorkers and providing safety information at Grand Central Terminal and the Whitehall Ferry Terminal.

Continued Push for Expanded Automated Enforcement: Automated enforcement, which allows cameras to operate in 750 school zones from 6am-10pm on weekdays, has been an essential component of our Vision Zero work. Speed cameras help to deter speeding at camera locations by over 70% and in 2020, more than half of vehicles that received one speeding violation did not receive a second. However, about one third of all traffic deaths this year that were not on highways occurred within school speed zones where permanent cameras are located, but happened during hours – on nights and during weekends – when the automated enforcement cameras were not legally allowed to issue summonses. Legislation to allow for 24/7 automated speed camera enforcement has already been introduced by State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

"With the holiday weekend around the corner, I am urging all New Yorkers to avoid driving if they have been drinking or are under the influence of cannabis. The safety of New Yorkers comes first, drivers who are found to be on the road speeding or under the influence will be held accountable," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. "I thank the men and women of the DOT and NYPD for all the work they are doing to keep New Yorkers safe."

"The holidays are a time for celebration, but it's important to spread the word to not drink and drive and be reckless. During these times, it's especially important that we expand traffic enforcement and continue to take steps to build on the life-saving School Zone Speed Camera Program by allowing 24/7 operations of these cameras," said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. "No one should fear for their life crossing the street or driving home from family festivities, let's all do our part this season to keep it free from vehicular violence."

"This holiday season, let's all do our part to keep our streets a safe place for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. I am grateful for the work that city agencies are doing to raise awareness of safe driving practices and to crack down on dangerous driving this holiday season, but there is more to be done to make our streets safer," said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. "I eagerly await passage of my bill to enhance the school zone speed camera program to ensure cameras are our children, school staff, and neighbors from speeding motorists at all times of day."

"I know many New Yorkers are looking forward to getting together with family and friends to celebrate this holiday season. I urge everyone to celebrate safely and especially to refrain from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol," said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. "I applaud the Mayor, the NYPD, the NYC Department of Transportation, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for their efforts to curb impaired driving and for their ongoing commitment to public safety via the Vision Zero initiative. I also look forward to working with Senator Andrew Gounardes, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and our colleagues in the legislature to authorize speed cameras 24/7."

"Driving under the influence of any substance that impairs your judgement is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "If you plan on using alcohol or cannabis, you should not drive after doing so. I commend all the City agencies involved in the effort to crack down on DWI and promote safe driving. Let's make sure this holiday season is a festive one and does not end in tragedy for any of our families."

"Speed safety cameras work — and they must be allowed to operate 24/7. As our city faces rising traffic violence, speeding, and reckless driving, we join with the administration in calling on Albany to let New York City take the necessary, life-saving measures on our streets to ensure that nobody fears death or injury when crossing the street," said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris.

"The holiday season is particularly dangerous for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, due to increased traffic volumes, a lack of protected bike lanes, and higher rates of drivers charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). The last thing that children and parents need is to worry about reckless drivers causing injuries and deaths on any street at any time, especially around schools," said Tri-State Transportation Campaign Spokesperson Liam Blank. "Automated speed cameras have proven to reduce traffic fatalities during school hours, and now we are calling on the State to pass legislation that would allow speed cameras in 750 school zones across New York City to be operational 24/7."

"Driving While Intoxicated is a deadly problem, especially around the holidays, and it's incumbent on New Yorkers to leave the car at home if they're going to drink, light up a joint, or consume edibles," said StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure. There's been enough tragedy on New York City's streets in 2021, and we appreciate this extra effort to keep people safe. And as we flip the calendar to 2022, it's imperative that Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins pass legislation to allow the city to operate life-saving speed cameras 24/7/365. We know speed cameras work, and the legislature must act to save lives ASAP."

Cannabis Safety Campaign Ad