STOP-DWI stands for “Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated.” The STOP-DWI program was created by empowering counties to coordinate local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related traffic crashes within the context of a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining statewide alcohol and highway safety program.
The STOP-DWI legislation permits each of the State’s 62 counties to establish a county STOP-DWI program which, in turn, will qualify the county for the return of all DWI fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses occurring within its jurisdiction. The “local option” concept set forth by the Legislature merely requires that the programs address alcohol and highway safety issues and be non-duplicative of related ongoing efforts. All 62 counties have opted to participate (with the five boroughs of New York City combining efforts into one program) under the auspices of 58 programs. Each county appoints a STOP-DWI coordinator whose duties include the development of a program, the coordination of efforts by agencies involved in alcohol and highway safety, and the submission of fiscal and program data to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
Although the development and implementation of STOP-DWI programs rests with the counties, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles is charged with the task of approving the county plans prior to the expenditure of STOP-DWI monies.
The success of STOP-DWI is attributable to numerous factors. Perhaps most importantly, its self-sufficiency creates a focal point for maintaining a continuous high profile. Thus, unlike many other legislative acts, the STOP-DWI programs are in a position to continually renew and adjust strategies to maintain a high level of visibility. The statute requires that each program initiate programs to reduce the rate of alcohol and other drug-related fatalities and injuries through the creation and funding of programs that serve to enhance the deterrent effects of New York’s DWI laws (i.e. relating to enforcement, prosecution, probation, rehabilitation, public information and education and program administration).
Examples of programs that counties fund:
- specially trained police units dedicated to DWI enforcement,
- hire special prosecutors and probation officers to handle the caseload,
- monitoring ignition interlock, support rehabilitation services,
- and develop public information and education campaigns tailored to the communities within the region.
However, each program ultimately reflects the needs and priorities of its own communities. The strategies of Broome County may not be the same as those of Monroe County. Yet, from the diversity of local needs comes innovation and creativity.
Stop DWI Resources
The New York State STOP-DWI Program is available in all counties and provides local programs to meet the goals of reducing alcohol/drug-related driving injuries and fatalities. These include education for school and community groups, support for victims, training for professionals, videos, tools and resources.