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Monday, July 26, 2010

Drunk Driving Laws Change

It has been a year since Diane Schuler drove drunk and high the wrong way down the Taconic Parkway in New York. The accident which would take the lives of eight (8) people, including her, sent chills down the spine of every American. There was one child survivor, Schuler's then five year old son, but, four children were robbed of their lives before they had a chance to actually live. Sadly, many people are not learning from tragedies like Schuler's and they seem to be quite commonplace these days, there are parents who will drive drunk with children in the car despite the inherent dangers. That being said, the question that many people are asking is what the government plans to do about alcoholism on the road?

If fines and jail time are not big enough deterrents then what is? The State of New York is attempting to make large strides in keeping the roadways safe in response to the number of horrific drunk driving accidents as well as the worst, that being Schuler's. The Journal reported, "In the last year, New York has enacted laws that make it easier to collect evidence from a drunken driving suspect; make driving drunk with children in the car an automatic felony; and force anyone convicted of drunken driving to install, at their own expense, a breath-testing vehicle-ignition locking device". Ignition locks have proved quite effective in many states in keeping drunk drivers from getting back on the road after they have been caught, assuming they live to be caught.

11-year-old Leandra Rosado was killed in a crash on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan last October on route to a sleepover with seven other girls. The mother of one of the girls who was driving the vehicle was drunk. Police have charged the driver with manslaughter. New York lawmakers created Leandra's Law just six weeks after the accident, making it a felony to drive drunk with a child younger than 16 in a vehicle. The second phase of the Leandra's law mandates ignition locks for anyone convicted of DWI, this will go into effect after Aug. 15. Leandra's law has been titled the Child Passenger Protection Act.

Debbie Maidman a substance abuse counselor for Daytop Village in Blauvelt, her nephew was killed by a drunk driver in Las Vegas. She supports the ignition interlock provision in the Child Passenger Protection Act. Her contention is that ignition locks should be standard in all vehicles. "Seat belts are standard, why not ignition locks? We have had the automakers install seat belts and airbags to save lives," Maidman said, "why is this any different?" It seems like Maidman makes a very valid point.

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