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Newsday: Proposed bill would strengthen DWI law

 

Originally published: October 16, 2011 10:04 AM


Updated: October 16, 2011 8:37 PM


By MATTHEW CHAYES matthew.chayes@newsday.com


Convicted drunken drivers would have to fill out a sworn affidavit to transfer their car registration to someone else, under a law being proposed by two Long Island lawmakers.


The idea is to hinder drivers from simply switching their vehicles' registrations to someone else to avoid having to install court-ordered detectors that prevent cars from starting if alcohol is detected.


The proposed law, touted Sunday by State Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, would subject drivers to court scrutiny of the registration transfer.


Fuschillo said the proposed law, which has not yet been drafted, will be introduced in the next state legislative session.


The law would also require an interlock device be installed in at least one vehicle registered to the driver's household, or in the car the driver used to commit the drunken-driving offense.


The law is being supported by Lenny Rosado, whose daughter was the namesake of the original Leandra's Law, which went into effect in December 2009. Leandra Rosado, 11, of Manhattan, died earlier that year in a crash on the West Side Highway. Her friend's mother was later convicted of drunken driving in that crash.


Also present at the news conference yesterday was the family of Jason Shein, who was killed in 2009 by a drunken driver who had been ordered to install an interlock device in his car for a prior DWI conviction. The driver, Persi Esquivel of Valley Stream, then 46, had fooled the system by selling his car to a friend, which meant the device was removed, and then continuing to drive it.


Meanwhile Sunday, police in Suffolk County said a driver in Babylon was high on drugs with his son and grandson as passengers when he triggered a chain-reaction crash involving three vehicles Saturday afternoon.


Charges against the driver, Reynaldo Jackson, 46, include violating Leandra's Law, police said. The law makes it a felony to drive while on drugs or drunk with children in the car.


The crash happened at about 3:55 p.m. at Deer Park Avenue and Simon Street when Jackson, of Copiague, rear-ended a 2011 Mazda in his 1996 Nissan Maxima while traveling southbound, police said. The Mazda was stopped at a traffic light, and the impact sent the Mazda into a 1997 Jeep, according to officials.


"Jackson's 12-year-old son and 2-year-old grandson were in the car," police said in a news release. They were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip "to be checked out," police said. None of the drivers was hurt. Police did not say if the children were injured.


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Publication date: 
Monday, October 17, 2011 - 00:00