Ah, those parkways. Seem to be the place to drink and drive — and get busted.
State police just announced three recent arrests for driving while intoxicated. A 35-year-old Yonkers man was charged with misdemeanor DWI Saturday at 3:20 a.m. after troopers stopped him in his vehicle, doing 85 mph in a 55-mph zone on the Sprain Brook Parkway in Greenburgh. A 36-year old Tarrytown man was charged with aggravated DWI, a misdemeanor, after a traffic stop, also on the Sprain Brook Parkway running through Greenburgh. Early Christmas morning, troopers charged a 29-year-old Bronx man with misdemeanor DWI; he at least had pulled over and troopers found him asleep behind the wheel of his car, on the side of the Taconic State Parkway in Mount Pleasant.
Common denominators: roughly the same age; each one’s blood alcohol content was almost twice the legal threshold for driving while intoxicated in New York state; and they took to the local parkways to get where they were going. Thankfully, they didn’t take anyone with them — too often those driving while intoxicated or under the influence of other drugs kill or maim innocent others.
Tomorrow night — otherwise known as New Year’s Eve, otherwise known in some circles as the perfect excuse for getting blasted — state, county and local police, along with the Sheriff’s Department in Putnam, will be out in full force trying to spot, and stop, drunken drivers. Sure, it should be a great night. 2008 wasn’t an easy year, 2009 could be a rougher one in terms of wars and the economy. But for one symbolic night it is fun, and important, to mark and celebrate the turn of the calendar with loved ones, talking of good memories and hopes for the future. But the annual rite of passage gives no one the right to endanger the lives of others.
There are several “free ride” programs in places like White Plains and in Rockland. Check lohud.com for a number of stories and related information.
Oh, and allow me a parental “By the way”: The drinking age in New York state is 21. And adults who buy alcohol for those who are underage, or host parties in their home for drinking teens, can be charged with crimes. Those are a couple of “rites” that should be skipped.
Photo: In December 2005, Carole Sears, president of M.A.D.D., the Westchester chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, addressed the media in White Plains. The city, in conjunction with Heineken USA, announced the Safe Call campaign, which offers taxi vouchers to downtown bars on New Years Eve, so people over age 21 who have been drinking do not have to get behind the wheel. Sears lost her husband three years earlier when their car was hit by a impaired driver. The program is on again this New Year’s Eve. For more information, visit www.ResponsiblyMeans21.com (Matthew Brown/The Journal News )