Press Releases

December 28, 2023
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Vision Zero: Adams Administration Announces Aggressive Enforcement of DWI During New Year’s

NYPD will focus holiday enforcement efforts on speeding and Driving While Intoxicated

City to continue to advocate for legislation to combat drunk and drugged driving

NEW YORK – The New York City Police Department (NYPD), the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), and NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) at One Police Plaza today announced enhanced enforcement initiatives to crack down on drunk driving ahead of the new year. Agency leaders also announced New York City’s endorsement of state legislation to crack down on the uptick of reckless driving on city streets since the pandemic, including a bill to renew and dramatically expand the city’s red light camera program.

"Heading into the new year, all New Yorkers must make a collective commitment to prioritize safety on our roadways," said NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. "We invite everyone to thoroughly enjoy their New Year’s celebrations, but to do so responsibly. As police officers intensify enforcement efforts and focus on impaired drivers, revelers should pre-plan: Take mass transportation, a taxi, or call a friend or family member for a ride. Remember, public safety is a shared responsibility, and the life you save could be your own."

"New Year’s is a joyful time to spend with family and friends; let’s ensure all New Yorkers have that opportunity this year by making safe travel plans this holiday season," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "We are proud to partner with our sister agencies this holiday season. And we look forward to working with our state legislators to pass lasting safety policies that can help save lives all year around."

"I’d like to thank our law enforcement officers for being out there to look after us this weekend, and we should all be looking out for each other," said Taxi & Limousine Commissioner David Do. "It is always at the times of year when we’re out traveling to celebrate and be with the people we love that the risk of injury or death on the road becomes highest. These are exactly the times when we should be at our best and most vigilant when it comes to staying safe on the roads."

"On so many issues, our health is interdependent, including by the choices we make," said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. "Drinking and driving puts everyone at risk. Don’t do it. If consuming alcohol during the holidays, make a plan. Decide ahead of time how you plan to get home safely."

Today's Vision Zero announcement includes:

NYPD Holiday Enforcement: NYPD will be actively enforcing laws against 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, each of which now has a radar detector.

Combatting driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs: The city will continue to support legislation from State Senator John Liu and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (S776/A1627) which would lower the DWI threshold from .08 percent to .05 percent blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), aligning New York with peer countries across the world — including Australia, Argentina, France, South Africa, and Japan.

At a .05 BAC, a person may not feel drunk, but they are still impaired for essential safe driving tasks. The relative risk of a driver being involved in a fatal crash is 4 to 10 times greater with a BAC between .05 and .079 compared to sober drivers. Research shows lowering the threshold to .05 could lead to an estimated over 10 percent decrease in DWI fatalities across New York State.

The city will also continue to support legislation sponsored by State Senator John Mannion and Assemblymember William Magnarelli (S3135/A174) to reduce instances of driving while under the influence of drugs. New York is one of the only states where law enforcement officers must prove a specific drug was involved in order to prosecute a driver for driving while impaired by drugs. This bill would allow Drug Recognition Experts to charge drivers based on their observations and help deter this dangerous behavior.

To more broadly address reckless driving behavior, the city will advocate this coming session in Albany to reauthorize and expand the city’s Red Light Camera program, supporting legislation sponsored by State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz (S2812/A5259). This bill would expand the program’s current cap from 150 intersections—less than one percent of the city’s signalized intersections—to 1,325 intersections and renew the program through December 1, 2030. The city will also support, with amendments, legislation from State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember William Magnarelli (S451/A7621) to authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend vehicle registrations for vehicles that get five or more finally adjudicated RLC violations in a 12-month period.

"The holidays can be a dangerous time on the roads, and while enforcement is welcomed, it's time we make it easier for reckless drivers to be held truly accountable," said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. "The installation of speed limiters in the cars of repeatedly reckless drivers and expanding the red light camera program can make a meaningful difference in the safety of our streets – and make no mistake, it can save lives. This change is urgently needed to keep New Yorkers safe and I'm glad to be working with DOT to get it done."

"Cracking down on drunk driving, which continues to destroy lives and families, is the right focus as New Year’s approaches," said State Senator John Liu. "Enforcement of current laws as well as advocacy for updated legislation such as reducing the legal blood alcohol limit from .08 to .05 will make a huge difference, as it already has in over 100 countries around the world. We applaud Mayor Adams and the DOT, TLC, and NYPD for these efforts."

"There’s never any excuse to drive impaired – especially not in New York City, where there are more transit and taxi options than anywhere in the country. If you’re drinking, decide how you’ll get home ahead of time," said Alec Slatky, managing director of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast. "AAA research has found that pretty much everybody considers drunk driving to be dangerous, but an alarming percentage of drivers admit to getting behind the wheel when they thought they might be over the legal limit – approximately 1 in 15 American drivers say they’ve recently done so. We’re thankful to the NYPD for cracking down on drunk drivers and to all our government partners for making impaired driving a priority this holiday season."