Updated 03/01/2013 06:33 PM
Parade day DWI crackdown
This weekend is one of the busiest for Binghamton bars, but while many are enjoying green beer, police and Stop DWI officials will be cracking down on drunk driving. Our Elyse Mickalonis has more on what they’re doing all weekend to keep people safe.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- With thousands of people expected to attend the 46th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and pack downtown bars, police agencies around the area are gearing up.
"I think a lot of people just don't care or they say, 'I'm not gonna get caught.' That's the mentality they go out with, but we're out there,” said NYSP Sgt. Jason Hopf.
This weekend, the Broome County STOP-DWI Program is teaming up with various police agencies across Broome County to take down drunk driving for the first time around parade day.
"There's a lot of families enjoying the festivities and a lot of people drinking, we also have some basketball finals going on, there's going to be a lot of people on the road and a lot of people drinking,” said Chris Marion, Broome County STOP-DWI Program Coordinator.
As more people rely on smart phones and social media to communicate, Troopers say crackdown efforts have changed. People now know where police will be and that’s something that’s been helping and hindering DWI checkpoints.
"We like to think by people knowing it could be a deterrent, someone might say, 'I'm not doing to drink,' but again, it still happens,” said Hopf. “People think, 'I'm fine, I can make it through.' Part of me wants to encourage people to let them know, but the other part wants me to discourage that, because we want people to go through it."
Officials say if you are going out on parade day, the most important thing is to have a plan before you go out, so everyone can get home safe.
"The fines are expensive, the lawyer fees are expensive,” said Hopf. “The embarrassment of getting arrested in front of your friends, family or employers. Those are all things to take into consideration. I don't think anyone wants to go to jail, nobody wakes up and says, 'I want to go to jail today.'"
Trooper Hopf says it’s best to play it safe when you’re drinking. Get a designated driver or take a cab instead risking your life or the life of someone else.
The crackdown runs throughout the weekend.