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Eastchester Letter: Halloween DWI Checkpoints A Relief

To The Editor:

Reading the article, it was a stress reliever to be informed that DWI checkpoints would be increased Halloween evening. For kids who are in middle school, and even younger than that, Halloween is about the candy and walking around the neighborhood with family and friends. On the other hand, Halloween for some adults, and even teenagers, is another reason to have a little more fun than usual. Whether it's consuming alcohol or causing mischief in the area, it puts the mind at ease to discover your younger sibling will be protected more so as they travel the town in search of the house with the best candy. Jenkins states that "[i]n 2012, 8,633 alcohol-related crashes in New York State reported by police, resulting in 358 people killed and 6,303 injured.” That's an extremely frightening thought, but it gets more stressful when it's discovered that, "[a]ccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2007-2011, 172 people, or 52 percent, of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night lost their lives in a drunk driving-related crash.” As the checkpoints will be increased, so do the charges of first time offenders. If caught “driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs with a child less than 16 years old in the vehicle,” the first time offender will be charged with a Class E Felony, “punishable up to four years in prison.” If charged and convicted, the offender must “install and maintain an ignition interlock on any vehicle owned or operated by the driver for a minimum period of 6 months.” The statistics, say it all, and it's surprising that it's taken this amount of time to increase these type of checkpoints for these certain type of occasions. It's understandable that security can't be increased all the time, but Halloween is a holiday for children to have fun and enjoy themselves, but what about normal, non holiday weekends? Is there going to remain an average amount of security just because there isn't a major celebration going on? Unfortunately, people drive while intoxicated even when there's nothing to celebrate. My concern is not just to bring down the percentage of “national fatalities occurring on Halloween night,” but also to bring down the everyday numbers of alcohol related accidents in New York State. Perhaps checkpoints should be increased each weekend. Adriana Rosales Eastchester, NY

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