Press Releases

May 26, 2023
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Vision Zero: NYC DOT and NYPD Remind New Yorkers to Not Drink and Drive During Holiday Weekend

NYPD to lead aggressive enforcement of impaired driving during unofficial kickoff of summer

NYC DOT reinforces Adams administration’s call to pass legislation to lower the threshold blood alcohol content for DWI from .08% to 0.05%

NEW YORK – The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) stood outside One Police Plaza today to announce major initiatives to crack down on speeding and drunk driving ahead of Memorial Day weekend. Agency leaders, joined by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), also advocated for the passage of state legislation that would lower the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold from .08% to .05%, which is could significantly decrease fatalities in New York State related to driving while intoxicated (DWI). 

"Drinking and driving ruins lives, and we have a shared responsibility to keep each other safe this holiday weekend," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "We are proud to work with our Vision Zero partners to reduce speeding, DWI, and driving under the influence of cannabis so everyone who walks, cycles, drives, or travels in New York City can enjoy a safe start to summer."

"As we head into the holiday weekend, the NYPD will step up enforcement to make sure all of our road users enjoy a safe Memorial Day weekend," said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Y. Royster. "Our highly trained highway patrol units will be laser focused on impaired drivers. They will be working with our government partners to remove these drivers off our highways. Police officers assigned to the seventy-seven precincts will be extra vigilant in removing impaired drivers from our local streets. This year we are asking all New Yorkers to do their part and drive sober. Traffic safety is public safety."

"If you want to go out with your friends, have a few rounds, and get home safe, all you need to do is raise your hand and hail a cab or push a few buttons on your phone," said TLC First Deputy Commissioner Ryan Wanttaja. "There are thousands of TLC licensed drivers out there who will be more than happy to take you and your friends home or wherever you want to go. Let's keep associating Memorial Day with those who died in the service of our country, and not with a loved one who tragically passed away due to bad decisions by themselves or others."

Today's Vision Zero announcement includes:

  • NYPD Holiday Enforcement: The NYPD is committed to making this Memorial Day weekend safe on our roads and will be extra vigilant in removing impaired drivers from our highways and local streets. Stepped up enforcement around dangerous driving behavior will begin Friday and continue through early Tuesday. Officers will be actively enforcing laws against speeding and impaired driving throughout Memorial Day Weekend 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.

  • Reducing the BAC Threshold: More than 30% of crashes in New York State involve alcohol. The share of traffic fatalities in New York City related to driving while intoxicated (DWI) has increased dramatically, reflecting disturbing pandemic trends involving alcohol consumption: in 2021, 43 traffic fatalities were directly tied to DWI, a 60 percent increase over the prior three-year average of 27 fatalities.  

As part of its legislative agenda to combat dangerous and reckless driving, New York City continues to advocate in Albany for state legislation that would lower the DWI threshold from .08% to .05%, aligning New York with peer countries across the world — including Australia, Argentina, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands.  At a .05% BAC, a person may not feel drunk, but they are still impaired for essential safe driving tasks. Research shows lowering the threshold to .05% could lead to an estimated over 10 percentdecrease in DWI fatalities across New York State. Senator John Liu and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon sponsored a bill (S131/A7197) that would lower the threshold to .05%.

State Senator John Liu, sponsor of S131, stated, "No one should be getting behind the wheel when impaired in any way, especially when statistics point to holidays as the most dangerous for drinking and driving. Many thanks to DOT, law enforcement and Mothers Against Drunk Driving for continuing to prioritize the passage of state legislation that would lower the legal BAC from .08% to .05%. and for always working to ensure our streets are safe for all New Yorkers."

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said "With the dramatic rise in traffic deaths at the hands of drunk drivers in recent years, lowering the BAC limit from .08% to .05% is desperately needed to adequately tackle this epidemic of traffic violence. The rest of the developed world has long since adopted stricter BACs that have proven to save lives, it is completely irresponsible we haven't done everything in our power to stop these tragedies. I want to thank Mayor Adams and Mothers Against Drunk Driving for their strong support of this life-saving legislation."

"As we prepare for the holiday season, we are wishing our residents and families a safe weekend and urge New Yorkers to not drink and drive," said Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. "I want to thank The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) for their support of state legislation that could save lives and their commitment to keeping our roads safe."

"Memorial Day weekend is for spending fun time with family and friends while we honor our men and women in uniform who gave their lives in defense of our freedom," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "Drinking and driving should have no part of this, so I am very pleased there will be stepped up enforcement against intoxicated driving this weekend. I also fully support lowering the DWI threshold to .05% from .08%, a level that is much too high."

"Memorial Day weekend is a staple for New Yorkers, many honoring the lives sacrificed serving our country and others celebrating the unofficial start of summer with friends and family. Whatever your plans are, please remember that you don't have to be reckless to have fun, and you should never endanger your life or someone else's," said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. "Be smart and plan ahead. Rely on public transportation, take a rideshare, crash at a friend's house, or just limit your alcohol consumption this weekend. Thank you to NYC DOT, NYPD, and TLC for additional enforcement of speeding and drunk driving this holiday weekend, as well as advocating for a lower BAC that will translate to lives saved."