CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State Police will be increasing patrols from Wednesday, March 16, until Sunday, March 20. These patrols will be combating drunk, impaired, and reckless driving for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Drivers can expect to encounter sobriety checkpoints during the time. State Police will also be conducting underage drinking and unlawful sales to minors details during the campaign.

Last year during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Troopers arrested 286 people for DWI, issued 497 tickets for distracted driving, and 19,253 tickets in total. State Police says one person every 52 minutes dies of an alcohol-related crash in the United States.

If you drink and drive, you face jail time, the loss of your license, a higher insurance rate, and dozens of unanticipated expenses. An impaired driving charge carries a maximum fine of $10,000.

The New York State Police ask you to commit to following these steps, so you can enjoy a safe holiday without jeopardizing lives on the road.

  • Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
  • Before you start drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ridesharing service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program
  • Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.  Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life.