BRONX, NY - The upcoming Memorial Day weekend, marks the unofficial start of summer – but it also marks the beginning of what is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers. Underage drinking continues to be a chronic problem in New York City with nearly 1,800 summonses a year issued by the NYPD for sales of alcohol to minors.
In light of the start of this season, Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo released an updated report with new, troubling statistics detailing the continued risk that alcohol poses to minors and renewed their push for a comprehensive legislative package, known as “the NYS Card Hard Campaign,” to combat underage drinking by cracking down on the use of Fake IDs.
Senator Klein said, “The start of summer means warmer weather, the end of the school year and summer vacation. Unfortunately, it also means more underage drinking, which can lead to serious or even fatal consequences. With our “Card Hard” package of legislation, Assemblyman Crespo and I are incentivizing retailers to be vigilant in carding underage drinkers and therefore help get fake IDs off our streets. These common sense proposals seek to reduce the use of fake IDs in a comprehensive way by rewarding smart proprietors and punishing those who continue to profit off of or support illegal activity.”
Assemblyman Crespo said, “Underage drinking poses a serious problem in our communities and holidays have become paramount periods of such behavior, Memorial Day Weekend will be no exception. Federal government research into underage drinking tells us that last month alone 26.4% of underage persons ages 12 through 20 used alcohol and binge drinking among the same age group was 17.4. Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers with nearly three quarters of students (72%) having consumed alcohol. Among underage drinkers, 30.8% paid for the alcohol the last time they drank. It is obvious that New York needs to do more to eliminate fake IDs as a tool available to our youth for accessing alcohol."
The NYPD released statistics showing that 1,791 summonses have been issued for sales of alcohol to minors and a three-fold increase from 3 to 9 DWI-related arrests on Memorial Day 2012 to Memorial Day 2013. Additionally, the State Liquor Authority reported that the number of alcohol sales to minors they have adjudicated statewide has increased 38% from 2010 to 2012. Data released from Jacobi and North Central Bronx Hospital showed that in both 2012 and 2013, there was an uptick in minors admitted to the hospital with alcohol-related health issues on Memorial Day weekend. Since 2011, over 400 minors have been admitted to Jacobi and North Central Bronx Hospital for alcohol-related health conditions on the weekends-alone.
In an updated report titled, New York State’s Efforts to Curb the Use of Fake IDs, released at the press conference, Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo noted that the cost of underage drinking has economic repercussions as well. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration underage drinking costs New York residents billions of dollars, $3.3 billion in 2010 alone. The total cost to New York City businesses from 2007 to 2011 was $9,614,815.00 in fines and fees related to serving minors alcohol. In the Bronx alone, this number was $2.14 million.
Citing a 10% increase in vehicular deaths on Memorial Day weekend versus other weekends in May, Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) called for the NY legislature to quickly pass several tough measures aimed at slashing alcohol sales to minors.
Richard Mallow, MADD New York Executive Director said, “Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is focused on tackling underage drinking, a problem that threatens the safety of our kids and endangers entire communities, now and down the road. These legislative measures provide a strong program to crackdown on the problem of underage drinking. Our Power of Parents® program is designed to equip parents with the tools and resources to start ongoing conversations about alcohol with their youth. Our hope is that with good parental messaging, law enforcement and legislation we can prevent underage drinking in New York State.”
Frances Maturo, Executive Director of TNCAP: "The Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership's mission is to work in our community to reduce alcohol and substance abuse among our young people. Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo’s “Card Hard” campaign reflects a shared goal of providing common sense ways of preventing our young people from accessing alcohol. We believe this legislative package would go along way towards getting fake IDs off our streets and keeping our minors safe.”
Klein and Crespo’s Card Hard legislative package targets the use of Fake IDs for the purpose of obtaining alcohol. These measures include:
- S.2334/A.2527 - Extends dram shop liability to serial makers of fake IDs; Would extend liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to obviously intoxicated persons or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third-parties as a result of alcohol-related crashes
- S.4102/A.2532 - Strengthens defenses for those retailers that employ best practices, including having an operating scanner, requiring employees to use scanners, holding a valid certificate of completion of a licensed alcohol awareness program and having a clean record with no violations for at least two years.
- S.5668/A.4004-A - Allows businesses to confiscate fake IDs
- S.6434/A.9377 – Requires retailers who have served minors to buy and use ID scanners
In 2013, Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo proudly sponsored S.4101-A/A.2530-B, which passed both houses of the Legislature and became Chapter 257 of the Laws of 2013 on July 31. This new law helps bring New York into greater parity with other states regarding fines for the use of fake IDs by minors. S. 5668, legislation that would allow businesses to confiscate fake IDs passed in the State Senate last year as well.