Updated 08/17/2012 09:19 AM
Driving it Home: State Police launch "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign
New York State Police are launching their "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign today. It's part of a national campaign to stop people from getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks. Our Megan Cruz has more on the crackdown on drunk driving.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- "We have the motorists stop and have an officer or trooper engage that motorist in conversation," explained Sergeant Dan Larkin, Troop G Traffic Supervisor for the New York State Police.
"Where you driving from? Work?" asked a state trooper.
"Where you headed to?" asked a Saratoga Springs police officer.
"Just looking to see if you had anything to drink," said another trooper.
Lieutenant Sean Briscoe of the Saratoga Springs Police Department said, "It's pretty easy to tell if someone's been drinking. The smell of an alcoholic beverage on the breath, the glassy, bloodshot eyes, a little bit of slurred speech, fumbling through papers."
"It's simply unacceptable," said Larkin. "Everybody knows the drill. There shouldn't be anybody out there driving drunk."
There shouldn't, but there are.
"About 30 percent of all highway fatalities in New York are alcohol-related, and that's the number one contributing factor in fatal crashes," said Larkin.
That's why the Saratoga Springs Police Department and the State Police have teamed up to man this checkpoint as part of a national initiative to curb alcohol- and drug-impaired driving.
"Alcohol impairs people's judgment," said Larkin. "When they get a buzz on, they think they feel fine, they think they're okay to drive, and we often find that with people we arrest."
Despite it being track season, officers here say all but two motorists passed the tests.
But it's not just alcohol they're checking for. They're also checking for drivers impaired by drugs. They say it's becoming as big of a problem.
"There was an odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, but again, if the person's BAC is high, sometimes it's difficult to determine whether the impairment is from either the alcohol or marijuana," said Trooper Albert Piraino, Drug Recognition Expert for the State Police.
Officers say it's easy to avoid all this and just have fun.
"Plan ahead. It's really simple. You don't want to have to drink and drive," said Larkin. "Plan ahead before you go out and start having a good time and then not know what to do."