DMV Will Not Relicense Repeat Drunken Drivers In New York
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York officials have issued regulations that will prevent repeat drunken drivers from getting their licenses back. The regulations were issued Tuesday.
Under the new rules, DMV will review the lifetime records of drivers who seek to have their drivers license reinstated after a revocation. Drivers with five or more alcohol or drug related convictions will not have their licenses reinstated.
Moreover, the Department of Motor Vehicles will deny relicensing for anyone who has at least one serious driving offense or has had three or more alcohol or drug related convictions in the past 25 years. Serious driving offenses include fatal crashes or driving-related penal conviction.
According to DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala, “Each year, more than 300 people are killed and more than 6,000 injured on New York highways as a direct result of alcohol-related crashes. More than 25 percent of those crashes involved a driver who had three or more drunk driving convictions”.
The new regulations also state that drunken drivers whose licenses have been revoked or suspended for six months will no longer be able to get their driving privileges back by completing an education program in seven weeks. The emergency regulations will apply going forward.
State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico also shared his views saying, “Last year nearly 45,000 people were arrested for DWI as a result of our combined local and state law enforcement efforts. These new rules focus on some of the most dangerous offenders.”
Warren County District Attorney, Kate Hogan, is also concerned about repeat DWI offenders who are getting arrested all the time. She mentioned one incident specifically where police arrested two drunken drivers in Glen Falls within a period of 48 hours, one having eight prior drunk driving related offenses, whereas the second one had nine prior DWI offenses. The most shocking thing of all was that both offenders had valid licenses.
After the new regulations are implemented, they are expected to affect approximately 20,000 drivers this year. According to data stored with the DMV, more than 50,000 drivers have three or more alcohol-related convictions in their lifetimes and quite a few of them have valid licenses. The statistics also record that more than 17,500 licensed drivers with at least three convictions accounted for more than 22,000 crashes causing injuries and 500 fatalities.
There has to be a stop to this. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo also supported the new regulations. “We are saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ to those who have chronically abused their driving privileges and threatened the safety of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians,” he said.
Assemblyman James Tedisco, a Schenectady Republican, had an important part to play in having the emergency regulations issued. He introduced legislation to permanently terminate licenses for chronic dangerous drunken drivers. He also proposed that the regulations should address chronic dangerous drivers who have other repeated traffic infractions where alcohol and drugs aren’t involved.