CARLE PLACE, NY. (CBSNewYork/AP) - There are efforts across New York State to crack down on drunk driving over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Brian Rosenberg, a Carle Place nightclub owner and president of Restaurants Against Drunk Driving, is among those urging people not to drink and drive on this biggest party night of the year.
"Everyone thinks New Year's Eve is the biggest night of the year. It is not. Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest night of the year," Rosenberg told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs. "The reason being is it is the one holiday where everybody is off the next day and it's not a religious holiday, so it's not like you have to go to temple or you have to go to church or you have to be up early in the morning."
Drunk Driving Checkpoints To Be Set Up Across New York State Over Holiday Weekend
Bar and restaurant owners, along with local officials, urge people to choose a designated driver before heading out for the night or take a taxi home.
"Take a cab home, no big deal. You come get the car the next day. It's better than having someone bail you out the next day," said Rosenberg.
Nassau Police are rolling out beefed up DWI patrols.
"It will be every officer. These officers will be dedicated to that purpose," Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said.
Suffolk County Police also announced plans to step up patrols and enforcement at shopping centers and on roadways from Wednesday through Jan. 1, 2014.
There will also be traffic safety checkpoints set up the crack down on drunk drivers and those violating seat belt and cell phone laws while behind the wheel.
"The Suffolk County Police Department is doing all it can to ensure a safe holiday season for Suffolk County residents. As you are hosting parties within your home please continue to abide by Suffolk County's Social Host law," County Executive Steve Bellone said.
Statewide, sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be in place to deter drunk driving. Law enforcement agencies will also be cracking down on drivers who are impaired by drugs - both illegal and prescription.
According to Department of Motor Vehicle statistics, last year there were 8,633 alcohol-related crashes in New York state reported by police that resulted in 358 deaths and over 6,000 injured.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased nationwide by 4.6 percent in 2012. They accounted for almost one-third, or 31 percent, of overall fatalities.
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