DISCUS Commends New York State Legislature for Passing Strong DWI Legislation

June 22, 2006 08:00 PM

−Sends letter urging Governor Pataki to promptly sign the bill into law−

ALBANY, NY – The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) today commended the New York State Legislature for passing legislation that establishes stronger penalties for drivers with extremely high blood alcohol content (BAC), defined in the bill as .18 and above. 

We applaud the New York Legislature’s diligent efforts to ensure this tough legislation goes to the Governor’s desk,” said DISCUS Vice President Jay Hibbard, who sent a letter of support for S.B. 8232 to New York Governor George Pataki, urging him to sign the bill. “Laws that crack down on high BAC drunk drivers are important tools states can use to reduce the occurrence of drunk driving related incidents in their communities.” 

Hibbard stated that although much progress has been made at reducing alcohol-related traffic fatalities, a greater focus and stiffer penalties need to be directed at high BAC offenders. The average BAC for drunk driving fatalities in 2005 was .19.

S.B. 8232, introduced by Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), would create a new penalty for “aggravated” DWI offenders who operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .18 or higher, require aggravated DWI offenders to have an ignition interlock system installed on their vehicle while on probation, extend the driver license revocation period for repeat DWI offenders and drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test and permanently revoke the license of anyone with a combination of 3 or more DWI convictions or chemical test refusals within a four year period. The law would take effect November 1.

Hibbard pointed out that the distilled spirits industry has a long history of working with communities nationwide to combat underage drinking and drunk driving. Hibbard cited as examples the work of The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers, which has programs available for communities and parents to reduce underage drinking and drunk driving. For more information regarding these programs, visit www.centurycouncil.org.  

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