Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has announced that two proposals being sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) are among its top legislative priorities for the 2006 legislative session. MADD called for the passage of these bills during a recent press conference in Albany in an effort to reduce the number of drunk driving crashes in New York State.
"Despite the best efforts of law enforcement officials, advocacy groups, and lawmakers, hundreds of lives are lost on New York's roadways every year at the hands of drunk drivers. As public officials, we have a responsibility to do all that we can to prevent these senseless tragedies from happening. We need both stronger laws to make people think twice about drinking and driving and tougher penalties for convicted drunk drivers. MADD's legislative agenda would achieve these objectives, and I look forward to working with them to help get these important measures passed into law," said Senator Fuschillo, author of New York State's ".08 Law".
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation would require mandatory, additional penalties for drunk drivers with an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC). In addition to any other court imposed penalties, Senator Fuschillo’s proposal would require offenders convicted of driving with a BAC of .15 or higher, which is almost double the legal limit, to spend a mandatory 5 days in jail. For individuals convicted of driving with a BAC of .20, which is two and a half times the legal limit, or higher, the mandatory prison term would be raised to 10 days in jail, on top of any other court imposed penalties.
Under the current law, penalties are not altered based on the drunk driver’s BAC level once it is above .08, which is the legal threshold for intoxication. This means that a drunk driver with a .32 BAC, which is four times the legal limit, faces the same penalty as one whose BAC is .08. Senator Fuschillo’s proposal would ensure that drivers who are more heavily intoxicated face tougher penalties.
Additionally, Senator Fuschillo is sponsoring legislation that would require physicians administering medical care to car accident victims to report to the police if tests performed as part of that care reveal that the individual is legally intoxicated. By ensuring that these results are turned over to law enforcement agencies, these drunk drivers would be prevented from escaping prosecution for DWI.
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