Senate Passes Drunk Driving Legislation

Martin J. Golden

March 06, 2006

Brooklyn- State Senator Marty Golden joined the New York State Senate in passing a bill that provides for additional penalties for convictions of drunk or drugged driving where a child under the age of 17 is a passenger.

Senator Marty Golden, a former New York City Police Officer stated, "Endangering the welfare of a child by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is reprehensible and irresponsible, and therefore, we will not tolerate it. This bill will enhance the protection of our children by increasing penalties for drunk driving convictions in those cases where a child is present, simply just as a passenger, seeking nothing but safety in their travels."

The additional penalties include: an additional fine of between $200-$500 with an additional 48-hours of imprisonment for the first offense; an additional fine of between $400-$1,000 with an additional 10 days of imprisonment for the second offense; and an additional fine of between $1,000-$5,000 and an additional term of imprisonment of between 30-90 days for any subsequent offense.

"Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs poses a tremendous public danger, and when you engage in that activity while a child is in the car, you are directly jeopardizing the lives of innocent people," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. "This legislation provides for additional penalties for these dangerous drivers and will protect our children from those who would endanger their lives."

Drunk driving with a child in the car is reckless and by most standards, constitutes neglect or even abuse. Since the early 1990s, at least 27 states have passed laws to expand protection for children and punish drunk drivers who put them at risk. This legislation is modeled after similar legislation in California that has proven to be extremely effective in keeping children safe from drunk drivers.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.