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Post date: April 26 1999

"none For The Road" Anti-dwi Program Proposed

Attorney General Spitzer today proposed an aggressive "None for the Road" anti-DWI program that he said could lead to dramatic reductions in alcohol-related crashes in New York.

"The initiatives identified in this program represent a critical next step in DWI prevention and deterrence," Spitzer said. "These measures have been proven successful in other states and have been debated extensively in New York. It is time for us to move forward on each of the bills and regain momentum in the fight against drunk driving."

Spitzer developed the program after reviewing dozens

  • Lowering the per se level of intoxication for operation of motor vehicles from the current .10 BAC standard to .08. The approval of this legislation is a condition of receiving additional federal transportation aid. More than a dozen other states have already approved the measure;

  • Authorizing the discovery of records relating to blood samples taken by a hospital providing care to an injured driver. The records could then be used to prosecute a person for vehicular manslaughter or vehicular assault;

  • Creating a statewide program that uses ignition interlock devices as a condition of sentencing for DWI offenses. The device prevents the use of a vehicle by an intoxicated person; and

  • Developing a new targeted treatment initiative that would provide inpatient rehabilitative services to those convicted of certain alcohol-related offenses.

    Leading anti-DWI advocates joined Attorney General Spitzer in urging action on the proposals:

    Maureen Fisher Riccardella, State Chair of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said: "We are delighted that Attorney General Spitzer has made DWI a high priority and we welcome his leadership in the effort to reduce the number of New Yorkers killed or injured by impaired drivers. The Attorney General's "None for the Road" program includes initiatives that have been a part of MADD's legislative agenda for years. This program would make a tremendous difference and we hope the Legislature will embrace it in full."

    Denise Cashmere, Chair of the New York State STOP-DWI Coordinators Association, said: "We are absolutely delighted to learn that Attorney General Spitzer will be taking an active role in advancing these important initiatives. His participation will provide a new energy for the advancement of proposals that have inexplicably languished over the past several years despite considerable bipartisan support. The State's 58 STOP-DWI Coordinators strongly endorse the "None for the Road" program and look forward to working with the Attorney General to see it through."

    Spitzer called on legislative leaders to make action on anti-DWI initiatives a top priority this year -- and he recommended the use of the conference committee structure to develop a comprehensive anti-DWI agenda. Since approval of several landmark laws in the mid-90s, there has been little action on DWI in New York in recent years.

    "New York was always a leader in the fight against drunk driving and can be so again with timely action on these and other initiatives," Spitzer said.

    In addition to the bills mentioned above, Spitzer has sponsored legislation to bar recovery of monetary damages by those whose intoxication contributes to an injury and to suspend the registration of a vehicle owned by an individual whose license is suspended for DWI. of legislative proposals and consulting with anti-DWI advocates, law enforcement authorities and lawmakers. The priority elements of his plan include:

    • Requiring the extended revocation of a driver's license if an individual is convicted for a third DWI offense within five years, or fourth offense within 10 years, and increasing criminal penalties for repeat offenders who commit vehicular manslaughter;

    • Strengthening penalties for those who operate a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above .20. These heavy drinkers have been associated with the greatest number and most severe crashes;