Over the next week many of us will have the opportunity to be with family and friends to celebrate the holiday season and mark the beginning of a New Year. I believe that it is important and timely to highlight the dangers of drinking and driving. We must never lose sight of the fact that every day in this country there are far too many families suffering due to the selfish acts of a drunk or drugged driver.
During this time of year we must all remain vigilant of driving responsibly, and stress the importance of this message to our community of friends and family. If you plan on driving and drinking leave your car home and do not accept a ride from someone who has been drinking at your social gathering. If traveling as a group choose a designated driver or make arrangements for car service.
My office treats drunk driving very seriously. In addition to the prosecution of drunk drivers, I have created a prevention program known as "Choices and Consequences" to address the deadly problem of reckless and drunk driving among teens. Dedicated members of my specialized Vehicular Crimes Bureau visit high schools throughout Brooklyn presenting an interactive curriculum to students together with the City Department of Transportation and the Police Department. The presentation concludes with a family member of a victim who senselessly lost their lives, or a defendant who has caused harm due to his reckless behavior, explaining his experiences and the consequences of his actions to the students.
New York State makes it illegal for any driver or passenger to possess an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume the contents. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a Vehicle and Traffic Law offense, the penalties for which include license revocation, a substantial fine, and a possible jail sentence. Also, New York passed a law call the Child Passenger Protection Act, also known as "Leandra’s Law," which designates it a felony if a drunk driver is apprehended with a child in the car. The bill also requires interlock devices to stop engines from starting for all DWI offenders if their breath establishes intoxication.
With these safety considerations in mind I would like to extend my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and a New Year filled with good health and happiness.