ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) recently warned of a spike in impaired driving and announced the upcoming statewide “STOP-DWI” campaign. Police agencies across the state will be increasing patrols to target impaired driving from Aug. 19 through Sept. 5.

The campaign aims to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related car crashes. According to data from the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, impaired driving crashes reported by police in New York increased 11% from 2020 to 2021.

“As you prepare your end-of-summer plans with family and friends, make sure you have a plan to get to your destination safely,” said DMV Commissioner and GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Impaired driving is a reckless, costly, all-too-often deadly decision that puts all those sharing the road in danger. I urge all drivers and passengers to be smart and have a plan.”

To kick off the campaign, a press event was held Friday at the New York State Welcome Center on the long Island Expressway. GTSC and DMV officials were joined by local and state law enforcement to make the announcement. Long Island was chosen for the event because Suffolk and Nassau County were ranked number one and two, respectively, for the most impaired driving fatalities per county in the state for 2021.

Throughout the campaign, law enforcement will be stepping up patrols, and the New York State Thruway Authority and State Department of Transportation will have Variable Message Signs alerting motorists to the dangers of drunk driving. During the 2021 campaign, police throughout the state arrested 2,586 people for impaired driving and wrote 94,075 tickets for other vehicle and traffic law violations, such as speeding and distracted driving.

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “A common threat on our roads, and one we continually fight, is impaired driving. While we want everyone to enjoy the final weeks of summer, we want them to do so responsibly. If your Labor Day celebrations include alcohol, plan ahead to ensure you have a safe ride home.”

The theme for this year’s campaign, as in previous years, is “Drive sober or get pulled over.” “There’s simply no excuse to get behind the wheel if you’re impaired, and the State Police will have zero tolerance,” concluded Bruen.