We hope all of you had a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and healthy New Year.
I'm actually writing this column before New Year's Day, so it feels a little weird to have spoken in the past tense about the holidays, but such is the nature of publishing.
Staying safe and healthy throughout the holiday often relies upon what people besides ourselves do. For the past year-and-a-half, we've heard a lot about COVID-19, masks, vaccines, etc., and so on. But we've had a different endemic going on for a lot longer than that … driving while intoxicated. New York State once again did its "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign," which ran from Dec. 17, 2021, to Jan. 1, 2022 (Again, past tense because the campaign hasn't ended, yet, as I'm writing this.)
But here were the numbers last year: During the 2020 holiday season initiative, law enforcement throughout the state arrested 2,067 people for impaired driving. In total, 70,878 tickets were issued for vehicle and traffic law violations.
During a press conference announcing 2021's campaign, New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "Every year there are needless tragedies and victims left behind because of drug or alcohol impaired drivers. Through education and enforcement, the New York State Police work to keep these drivers off the road. Through campaigns like Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, we remind people of the dangers of drinking and driving. Together, we can keep New York State's roads among the safest in the nation."
Drunk driving is one of those self-inflicted wounds. With Uber and Lyft, getting back home after an evening of drinking is easier than it ever has been. All of you and your crews work very hard to keep our roads safe and clear for others and it would be nice if that could be reciprocated. But drinking has always had the effect of making people think they're invincible and giving them the "courage" to take chances. Well, hopefully, 2021's campaign proved otherwise.
One last thing: as we start a new year, I'm planning 2022's list of Profiles and right now, March is spoken for, but that leaves the rest of the year open at the moment. So please feel free to reach out to me and nominate someone you'd like to see Profiled. In fact, the March Profile will be on someone who was nominated by a peer. Whenever we contact superintendents who are nominated, they are overjoyed. Those are fun phone calls. So, please help us make someone's day. It's a good deed.
That said, have a great 2022. P