Senate Transportation Committee Approves Legislation to Keep Drunk Drivers Off the Road
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, announced that the committee has approved legislation to keep drunk drivers off the road. The legislation would ensure that DUI offenders do not have their license reinstated until they have completed all the terms of their sentencing, as well as strengthen New York State’s ability to permanently revoke the driver’s license of persistent DUI offenders.
“Drunk drivers are a threat to everyone on our roadways. Convicted DUI offenders should not be able to go back on the road until they have paid their debt to society by completing all the terms and conditions of their sentence. Individuals who persistently drive under the influence have no business holding a driver’s license. This legislation would ensure that no one convicted of a DUI offense can go back on the road without fulfilling their sentencing obligation and strengthen New York State’s ability to keep persistent, dangerous DUI offenders off the road for good,” said Senator Fuschillo.
The committee approved legislation (S5216), sponsored by Senator Fuschillo, to ensure that convicted drunk drivers are not reissued a driver’s license until they fulfill all the terms of their sentence. Drunk drivers can face a number of sanctions under current law in addition to a jail sentence, including using an ignition interlock, fines, completing a drinking-driving prevention program, participating in a victim’s impact panel, undergoing an alcohol or drug assessment and treatment, payment of restitution, and/or community service.
The legislation would strengthen existing safeguards by requiring offenders to provide proof that they have completed the terms of their sentence to DMV before they can be reissued a license. DMV would establish the procedure by which offenders would prove that their sentence has been completed before receiving their license. New York State STOP-DWI estimates that there is as much as $75 million in uncollected DWI fines.
Additionally, legislation approved by the Committee (S739), sponsored by Senator Fuschillo, would allow DMV to permanently revoke the driver’s license of individuals with any combination of three DUI convictions or chemical test refusals. Individuals with two DUI convictions that resulted in physical injury would also be subject to permanent license revocation. DMV would be prohibited from ever issuing a license again to these offenders.
The legislation builds on DMV regulations implemented last September which have kept thousands of dangerous offenders off the road. DMV has permanently denied 1,658 drivers from having a driver’s license because of their long history of alcohol or drug related driving convictions. An additional 1,506 were denied license reinstatement for an additional five years and once relicensed, will receive a restricted license and will be required to use an ignition interlock for five years.