Updated 02/17/2012 05:45 PM
New bill would toughen laws for repeat DWI offenders
It could soon be a lot harder for convicted DWI offenders to hold on to their drivers licenses. Our Lori Chung has more on a proposed law advocates say could become the toughest road safety legislation in the nation.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- The accident that killed Cassandra Boone, 19, in November is exactly the kind of scenario that a new bill is aiming to prevent. Officials say Anthony Gallo, the man indicted in that accident, had 10 suspensions on his driving record.
"If you've had three convictions of being a dangerous driver, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we think that's enough, and we think you should lose your driving privileges" said Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
It's called Charlotte's Law, named for an elderly Schenectady woman killed back in January 2010 after a night of volunteering at Proctor's Theater. Prompted by the recent cases in Schenectady, Tedisco is co-sponsoring the bill with Senator Hugh Farley. He says, if passed it would be the toughest road safety law in the country.
"There's a gaping hole in the law which allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to give licenses back to people who've shown they're irresponsible over and over again."
Under current law, a third D.W.I. conviction carries a maximum of seven years in prison, a $10,000 fine and a one year license suspension. Groups like Remove Intoxicated Drivers say statistics from a study of DWI convictions in Rensselear County show more needs be done.
"Twenty-five to thirty-five percent of them were repeat offenders and some of them were four or five time offenders" said Doris Aiken, R.I.D. president. "But, this is a step in the right direction."
The law wouldn't be limited to drivers under the influence. Anyone repeatedly found at fault in a crash where there is a serious injury, and those with three convictions for vehicular manslaughter could also see their licenses revoked for good.