Here in New York, there has been significant discussion over the last few weeks about the efficacy of our state's DUI laws. Much of this conversation has likely been spurred by the two-year anniversary of the horrific accident on the Taconic Parkway in which eight people were killed in a wrong-way collision, and a spate of other crashes involving wrong-way drivers.
In fact, one state lawmaker is now renewing his call for legislation making it a felony for drivers to drive the wrong-way or drive recklessly.
Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick) sponsored Senate Bill 3452 (S 3452), a measure that would create a new class E felony charge for aggravated reckless driving punishable by up to four years in prison.
S 3452 would apply to the following people:
- Motorists who drive the wrong way against traffic either knowingly or because of their intoxication
- Motorists who drive 30 miles-per-hour over the speed limit while intoxicated or impaired
- Motorists who drive 30 miles-per-hour over the speed limit while weaving in traffic, racing or pursuing another vehicle
In addition to creating a new felony charge, Sen. Fuschillo's bill would also increase the penalties for reckless driving, elevating it from an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 30 days in jail to a class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of up to a year in prison.
"This is common sense legislation that needs to be passed immediately," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "Wrong-way drivers endanger us all and the inevitable crashes they cause are incredibly violent. Too many lives have been lost and too many families have been irrevocably damaged to wait any longer."
Interestingly, while S 3452 was passed by the State Senate back in late March, it has yet to make any real progress in the State Assembly.
What are your thoughts on Sen. Fuschillo's bill?
Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...
Being arrested for DWI/DUI can have a serious impact on your life in a number of ways and result in various penalties. In fact, many of these penalties are much more serious than the mere license suspension or revocation.
When faced with this scenario, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
New York Senate "Senator Fuschillo: Yet another wrong way crash shows why Assembly should approve felony charges for wrong-way and reckless drivers" July 27th, 2011