While there may be fewer holiday parties to attend this year, many of us still plan to spend part of the festive season with friends and family, virtually or in person. Despite the pandemic and restrictions on social gatherings, this is still a special time, however; drinking and driving can put a damper on the merriment. 

“During the holidays it’s a chance for people to get together and usually  when people get together it’s an opportunity to start drinking a little bit more, when otherwise it would be a normal day,” says Village of Lake Placid Police Sgt. Frank Strack.

In New York State, anyone behind the wheel with a blood/alcohol content (BAC) of .08% is considered to be driving while intoxicated. There is also a zero-tolerance law for persons under 21 with a BAC of .02% or higher.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an average of 300 people die in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year, alone. Sgt. Strack believes that this can be avoidable.

“So, you have apps, Uber, you have friends, you have phone numbers to call. If you are hosting a party, or you are hosting an event, make sure that everybody that shows up that plans on drinking make arrangements,” he notes. “If you’re going to have people at your house, be the responsible one. Ask them how they’re getting home, take their keys or arrange rides.”

There are several factors that can affect someone’s BAC. Metabolism, what they’ve eaten, how much they weigh can all have an impact. As an example, a person weighing 100 lbs. could reach a BAC of .08% with three drinks, while another individual weighing 220 lbs. may take in in excess of six drinks to get to the same BAC during that same time period.

Sgt. Strack also points out that coffee and/or water will not help to reduce the effects of alcohol. “Water, coffee it’s not going to pull the alcohol from your body. Once the alcohol is in your blood stream, it’s in your blood stream.”

As in years past, the Village of Lake Placid Police Department will team up with the Essex County “Stop DWI” program and other area law enforcement agencies to curb alcohol and drug-related driving injuries and fatalities.

This campaign and others have gone a long way towards reducing the number of DWI related fatalities. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) and the State’s Governor’s office both report that these highly visible, highly publicized efforts have reduced drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20%.

“Since I started in 2003, I’ve seen the number of impaired driving incidents go down. I think that over time, like anything else, the more education you get, the more prepared people are,” Sgt. Strack notes. “We’re out there for the safety of everybody that’s on the road. That’s why we do what we do, and we do it so everyone can enjoy the holidays.”


According to, a DWI conviction can stay on your driving record for at least five to seven years. Insurance companies may also terminate your policy or increase your premium, on average, as much as 80%.

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