Drunk Drivers with Kids in Car Could Face Felonies in N.Y.
November 19, 2009
The New York state Assembly has passed a bill that would make it a felony offense to drive while intoxicated if children under age 16 are in the vehicle, the New York Times reported Nov. 18.
The bill also would require first-time convicted drunk drivers to install ignition-interlock devices on their cars to prevent repeat offenses.
Currently, only Arizona makes it a felony offense to drive drunk with children; about a dozen states require the ignition-interlock devices, which prevent the engine from starting if a breath sample reveals the presence of alcohol. New Yorkers convicted of felony drunk driving would face up to four years in prison under the bill.
The legislation follows a pair of impaired-driving cases in New York that caused the deaths of young children, including a crash on the Taconic Parkway that killed eight people and an incident where a drunk woman flipped her car on the Henry Hudson Parkway, killing Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old friend of her daughter.
"Everyone who takes a drink and gets behind the wheel is going to think twice about driving whether there are children in the car," said Lenny Rosado, the victim's father. "My daughter's name and her death will make a difference."
New York Gov. David Patterson supports the bill.