Today, Governor Susana Martinez announced that law enforcement across the state will be out in full force this weekend to crack down on drunk driving during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The Governor also announced that last year DWI fatalities were down about 16 percent compared to 2016.
“If you drink and drive you’re putting every life you come across on the road in danger,” said Governor Martinez. “Driving drunk is unacceptable and dangerous. It’s also 100 percent preventable. Do the right thing and have a plan to keep yourself and everyone else safe this weekend.”
Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend State Police and law enforcement agencies across the state will be conducting increased saturation patrols and DWI checkpoints in an effort to catch drunk drivers.
“We encourage those celebrating to do so responsibly by having a plan which must include a safe ride home. Designated drivers and ride sharing programs are a great option compared to incarceration or death,” said State Police Chief Pete Kassetas. “New Mexico State Police will be on the roads looking for drunk drivers to keep our communities safe. If you are caught drunk, you will be arrested. If you drink, don't drive!"
According to preliminary data, last year there were 145 alcohol-involved fatalities, which was down compared to the previous year when there were 173. In Bernalillo County, DWI fatalities decreased from 52 to 38. Additionally, the number of alcohol-involved crashes decreased during the same time frame from 2,073 to 1,805.
“NMDOT is committed to working with the Governor and law enforcement across the state to stop DWI,” said NMDOT Cabinet Secretary Tom Church. “We will not stop efforts to educate the public and support law enforcement, because it’s saving lives on our roads and highways.”
Governor Martinez has made fighting DWI a priority in her administration. In 2016, the Governor enacted legislation that increased penalties against drunk drivers to some of the toughest in the region. The administration has also launched a campaign aimed to stop servers and establishments from over-serving alcohol. In addition to the crackdown on DWI offender absconders, Governor Martinez also announced a court monitoring program that placed citizens inside courtrooms in six counties to shed light on how DWI cases are handled.
This week, NMDOT also launched a new TV ad campaign encouraging New Mexicans to stop others from getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking. The new ads are called “Life of the Party” and can be viewed online here.