State Police and DMV urge New Yorkers to plan for safe shopping, driving this holiday season



George P. Beach II



Beau Duffy
Director of Public Information 

(518) 457-2180




The New York State Police and the Department of Motor Vechicles are encouraging New Yorkers to make safety a priority this holiday season. From taking precautions to keep themselves and their purchases secure while shopping to removing snow and safely securing a tree or large purchase before driving, staying safe only takes a few extra minutes of your time.
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “Criminals will look for any opportunity to steal and take advantage of their victims. It may sound simple, but whether you are shopping at a large mall or in a quaint downtown, always be aware of your surroundings. The commonsense steps are the ones that will protect you from becoming a victim. Be sure to park your vehicle in a well-lighted, well-traveled area. Always lock your car, and make sure your windows are rolled up and secured. If you see something suspicious, report it to law enforcement or mall security immediately. Being alert and taking the appropriate precautions will help to keep you safe this holiday shopping season.”
State Police offered the following additional tips for shoppers:
  • Shop with a friend or in a group
  • If shopping alone, don’t be afraid to ask security to escort you to your car
  • Store purchases in the trunk of your vehicle, under a blanket or out of view
  • Do not leave valuables in your car, and
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep your money and credit cards in a front pocket
From shopping for gifts to finding the perfect tree to put them under, many people enjoy bringing a live tree into their homes for the holidays. DMV reminds New Yorkers to be certain that the tree is properly secured before you start to drive and warns that drivers can face penalties if an unsecured tree falls off their vehicle. The driver should also have an unobstructed view out of all windows.
“The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, and we want people to enjoy them safely,” said Terri Egan, DMV’s Executive Deputy Commissioner. “It only takes a few moments to make sure your property is safe and secure and your car is not a hazard to yourself and others.”
According to a new AAA survey, an estimated 20 million Americans who purchased a real tree in the last three years did not properly secure it to their vehicle. Failure to properly secure a tree risks dangerous road debris and damage to your vehicle.
If you’re thinking about decorating your vehicle for the holidays, it is not legal to put decorative lights on your car, truck or SUV and doing so could lead to a ticket. Other decorations must be secured and not obscure the driver’s vision, the vehicle’s lights or the license plates.
In the event of snow during your travels, make sure to remove any accumulation from your vehicle. Not only should the windows be cleared so that you can see, but snow should also be removed from the roof so it does not suddenly slide down your windshield or blow off and obscure the views of other motorists.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a host of winter driving tips to help you prepare for your journey. To check the weather and road conditions along your route, you can check for up-to-the-minute information or you can call 511.
If you plan to go out celebrating for the holidays, DMV urges drivers to use the Have a Plan app to help determine a safe way to get home. The free app from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation allows you to designate a driver, call a cab or ride share, and to review the consequences of impaired driving. You can even use the app to report a drunk or drugged driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.
For more information about DMV, visit, or follow the DMV conversation online on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow the State Police on Facebook or Twitter.