20,000 New Yorkers Will Soon Be "Bus People" Thanks to New Drunk-Driving Regulations
If you have three drunk driving convictions, one of these is probably in your future.
Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday laid out new regulations for when dangerous drivers can regain their driving privileges after getting convicted of serious driving offenses, and it seems a lot of people will soon be taking the bus.
The new regulations, designed to keep drivers with a history of driving wasted off the road, will keep an estimated 20,000 New Yorkers from getting their driving privileges reinstated -- in many cases, the revocation will be permanent -- according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
"We are saying 'enough is enough' to those who have chronically abused their driving privileges and threatened the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians," Cuomo says. "This comprehensive effort will make New York safer by keeping these drivers off our roadways."
The new regulations -- issued by the DMV as "emergency regulations" -- are among the toughest in the country and include the following measures:
-Lifetime Record Review by DMV: DMV will be able to review the lifetime record of all drivers who apply to have a license reinstated after a revocation.
-Truly Permanent License Revocation for Persistently Drunk & Dangerous Drivers: After conducting a lifetime record review, DMV will deny any application for reinstatement of a license after revocation if the applicant has:
*Five or more alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions in his or her lifetime, or
*Three or more alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions in the last 25 years plus at least one other serious driving offense during that period. A serious driving offense includes: a fatal crash, a driving-related penal law conviction, an accumulation of 20 or more points assessed for driving violations within the last 25 years, or having two or more driving convictions each worth five points or higher.
-Delayed Re-Licensing, Driving Restrictions, & Interlocks for Other Drivers with Repeated Alcohol- or Drug-Related Driving Convictions: For those drivers seeking reinstatement of a license after revocation who have three or four alcohol- or drug-related convictions but no serious driving offense in the last 25 years, DMV will:
*Deny their applications for five years beyond their statutory revocation period if the applicant's license was revoked for an alcohol- or drug-related offense; or two additional years if the applicant's license was revoked for a reason other than an alcohol- or drug-related offense;
*Restore the applicant's license after that additional period as a "restricted" license limiting the applicant's driving to, for example, travel to and from work or medical visits; and
*For those drivers whose revocations stem from an alcohol-related offense, require an interlock on the vehicle driven by the applicant for five years.
-End the Reduction of Mandatory Suspension or Revocation Periods: Currently, repeat drunk drivers whose licenses have been revoked or suspended for six months or a year can nevertheless get their full driving privileges back in as little as seven weeks by completing DMV's Drinking Driver Program. DMV's new regulations will ensure that those drivers cannot obtain their driving privileges until their full term of suspension or revocation has ended.
Under the current law, "drivers who are convicted of multiple alcohol- or drug-related driving offenses cannot permanently lose their licenses. For example, if a driver is convicted of three alcohol- or drug-related driving offenses within a four year period, or four within an eight-year period, the driver will lose his or her license for as little as five years, and may then apply to be relicensed. Some drivers still have a license even after as many as six or seven alcohol or drug-related driving convictions over longer periods of time. The only time a driver really faces losing a license permanently is when he or she has two alcohol- or drug-related convictions arising from separate crashes involving a physical injury," according to the governor's office.
Right now, more than 50,000 New York drivers have three or more alcohol-related convictions, with 15,000 having three in the past 20 years.
About 17,500 of those drivers have been involved in at least one crash that has injured or killed someone following their initial convictions, the gov's office says.
Moral of the story: Stop driving shit-faced.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.