5 Court Street, Room 1
Belmont, NY 14813
VIP dates for 2020:
February 25, May 26, August 18, November 17
The panels are held at the Allegany County Courthouse in Belmont at 7:00 pm. Fees are $25 for in-county courts and $40 for out-of-county courts
BELMONT — Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a proclamation designating November as STOP-DWI month, and Allegany County STOP-DWI Director Linda Edwards wants everyone to tie on a red ribbon to remember to not drive after drinking.
Edwards gathered county employees and officials who have a stake in preventing drunk driving at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles Office Tuesday to emphasize how drunk driving impacts the community. Representatives of police departments, the county legislature, district attorney’s office and probation department were on hand as well as those in the field of prevention services.
The STOP-DWI program was created by the state legislature in 1981. The Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated, part of the legislation, empowered counties to coordinate local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related crashes within the context of a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining alcohol and highway safety program. Establishment of a county STOP-DWI Program qualified counties for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and other drug related traffic offenses occurring within their jurisdiction.
In the past year, Allegany County received $75,000 in returned fines. According to Edwards, the funding goes to support the STOP-DWI office and helps with enforcement opportunities such as holiday crackdowns, awareness and education programs, and supervisory programs.
“The program provides a platform for STOP-DWI coordinators to exchange ideas and collectively discuss and act upon mutual objectives that help advance our goal,” she said.
Across the state since 2009, data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research shows that all alcohol-related crashes in New York State have decreased by nearly 10 percent. Fatal alcohol-related crashes have fallen by nearly 30 percent and personal injury crashes have declined almost 16 percent.
“The Allegany County STOP-DWI Program partners with many agencies to provide a comprehensive program of enforcement, prosecution, supervision and education,” Edwards said.
Statistics released in the spring show that drunk driving related crashes in the county have declined. For 2017 there were a total of 209 alcohol related arrests with 68 of them, at that time, resulting in fines paid to city, county, district, and justice courts. Across the board in the county, DWI arrests were down from 256 in 2016 to 209 in 2017. The only increases were in Andover, which went from 1 arrest in 2016 to 3 in 2017 and in Wellsville where arrests went from 44 in 2016 to 46 in 2017.
The departments and organizations the STOP-DWI program partners with are: local, county and state police departments who, with funding from the program, are able to conduct routine patrols throughout the year. STOP-DWI funds help the District Attorney’s office with the prosecution of DWIs. At the Probation Department funding is used to conduct quarterly Victim Impact Panels. The program also works with ACASA to educate and raise public awareness through various events and programs.
“One of our major educational programs conducted annually is the SADD Conference for high school students,” Edwards said. “STOP-DWI partners with many agencies who assist the program in its effort to reduce alcohol and other drug-related arrests and crashes. We hope by putting on these red ribbons today that we will raise awareness of the dangers of driving drunk or under the influence of drugs.”
The Allegany County STOP-DWI Program held our annual Cookies and Wassail Day in mid-December for County Legislators and employees to demonstrate that you can have an alcohol-free Christmas party. STOP-DWI Coordinator Linda Edwards had Privilege of the Floor to talk about National Impaired Driving Month and some tips on how to prevent impaired driving. Board Chairman Curtis Crandall also issued a Proclamation naming December as Impaired Driving Prevention Month in Allegany County, urging the citizens of Allegany County to avoid driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Left to right are:
Nicholas Darling, Scio Central School
Jaimee Kasprowicz, Friendship Central School
Hannah Staedt, Scio Central School
Kelsey Sherwood, Scio Central School
Linda Edwards, STOP-DWI Coordinator
Chef Joseph Fusco, BOCES Culinary Arts Instructor