The writer is a state assemblyman representing parts of Schenectady and Saratoga counties.
Unlike the right to be safe on New York’s roads, driving is not a right, it’s a privilege. That privilege comes with the obligation to respect the safety of others. Families have a right to know they and their loved ones will be protected from serial drunk and dangerous drivers who become human weapons when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
That’s why Senator Hugh Farley (R,C,I-Niskayuna) and I have joined with advocates and families who lost loved ones to drunk and dangerous drivers to call for new legislation to help make our roads safer by permanently terminating the driver’s license privileges for serial drunk and dangerous drivers.
Just recently, an individual who had 10 suspensions on his driver’s license, was indicted for aggravated vehicular homicide among other charges for being under the influence of drugs and running a red light when he struck and killed a 19-year-old woman in November 2011 as she walked across the street at the intersection of Erie Boulevard and State Street in Schenectady.
Our measure (A.8934A/S.6496), would permanently terminate all driving privileges of an individual convicted of a combination of three or more of the following: a conviction for DWI/DUI; actions causing an accident where there is personal injury to another and the person is at fault; or vehicular manslaughter.
Currently, there is no provision in state law that permanently terminates driving privileges for those who are chronic drunk, drugged and/or dangerous drivers.
Anyone caught behind the wheel after their driver’s license privileges are permanently terminated would face long-term incarceration. This is a deterrent because under this law any time a designated incorrigible driver gets behind the wheel of a car after getting their license permanently terminated they would go to jail for years – no matter when or why they were stopped – unlike the present system where law enforcement has to catch a repeat offender driving drunk again.