The fact that arrests for driving under the influence jumped more than 18 percent last year over the prior has more to do with increased patrols than it does with an increase in distracted drivers.

The New York Highway Patrol and Police have focused on Staten Island this past year when it comes to DUI surveillance, increasing patrols and checkpoints in an effort to reduce drunk driving.

Despite the increase in drunk driving arrests in Staten Island, the other four boroughs saw a significant decline, about 13 percent. In Brooklyn, DUI arrested dropped even more than they increased in State Island. Brooklyn DUI arrests were down almost 20 percent and in the Bronx they were down about 16 percent.

New York defensive driving is all about be cautious and not being stupid. Stupid driving is what you do when you down a few drinks and then get behind the wheel of a 5,000 pound missile made of steel and plastic and glass and step on the accelerator. There simply is no excuse for driving under the influence of anything.

In New York City drivers are constantly confronted by a near endless gauntlet of dangerous driving situations. From rush hour traffic, to poor weather conditions to thousands of out-of-state drivers who have just arrived in the city and trying to find their way around. There is no where near enough space in this blog to list all the dangerous conditions New York drivers face on a daily basis. When you add distracted drivers, or drunk drivers to the mix, the recipe is nearly perfect for one kind of daily disaster or the other.

Defensive driving New York is not just about being clean and sober when you get behind the wheel (although that is a necessity, and the law) it is also all about taking precautions and being constantly aware of your surroundings. New York State Police and city police are doing a good job keeping a fair number of drunk drivers off the road, but they can’t be everywhere at once. Besides, as adults, we are responsible for our own actions, meaning driving safe is not a lucky chance, but a well-honed skill that we should utilize every time we get behind the wheel.

Image: Paul Martin Eldridge /