Utica, N.Y. - Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol is urging anyone going out and celebrating over the next few days during this New Year's week to make sure to have a plan to not drink and drive.
Maciol says his goal, and the goal of law enforcement in general, during celebratory holiday periods is not to just crack down on drinking and driving, but to save lives, "That’s why it’s important to us to be out there with full force, with every bit of personnel that we have available to us. The most basic bit of advice we can give people, our slogan is very simple, have a plan."
Maciol says make that plan well beforehand and stay the night where you will be partying or have a designated driver or take a cab or a ride sharing service like Uber, "99.9% of the people out there on the highway this holiday weekend, they’re not going to be drinking and driving. We just don’t want that 1/10 of a percent that might be drinking and driving to ruin it for someone else because time after time we see tragedy strike, most of the time the folks that are killed in these car crashes are folks who aren't the ones that are drinking and driving, they're either a passenger in a car, or folks in another vehicle that got struck by a drunk driver."
Sheriff Maciol says law enforcement agencies will have DWI checkpoints set up and have extra patrols on the roads the next three nights, "I feel that it’s more effective to have roaming DWI patrols, we can cover a lot more area."
Maciol says besides cracking down on drunk driving, there's also a continuous push across the state to crack down on distracted driving, especially texting while driving. He says an emphasis on cracking down on texting and driving will also take place over the next three days, "Again we don’t want to ruin someone’s day with a ticket, but I’d much rather write someone a ticket and have them never text and drive again than to have to make a notification to a parent that their child was killed as a result of someone texting and driving."