New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last week that is going to strengthen what is known in the state as Leandra’s Law. That law imposed tough penalties on people who operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and have a child in the car. It mandates that an ignition interlock device be installed on the vehicles of anyone convicted for alcohol-related offenses.
The law was named after Leandra Rosado, who was an 11 year-old girl killed in a wreck while she was a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver.
The updated DUI law now makes it a felony to drive drunk on a conditional license. Drivers who had their license revoked for drunk driving can be issued a conditional license, if they enroll in an alcohol/drug rehabilitation program. The conditional license only can be used for driving to and from necessary locations, such as school and work.
Drunk driving on a revoked license was a felony, but now the updated law makes driving drunk on the conditional license also a felony. Previously it was only a traffic violation.
The bill will also limit the circumstances where a court can waive the interlock device installation. Now it will only be allowed when a person swears under oath that he or she is not the owner of any motor vehicle, and will not drive during the period of the interlock restriction. Lying under oath will be considered to be perjury.
The new NY legislation also expands requirements for using ignition interlock devices; it will make young offenders subject to the same requirements that are now applicable to adult drivers only.
New York is not the only state to crack down on DUI drivers. In Virginia, the state legislature in 2011 made DUI laws tougher on underage drivers. Now, teens who drink and drive in Virginia lose their driver’s license for one year, and must pay $500 or do 50 hours of community service.
Hopefully, the tougher DUI laws will help to lessen drunk driving tragedies, which claimed 9878 lives in 2011, one of which reached a $300,000 settlement.
HSInjuryLaw.com is a Virginia-based personal injury law firm that blogs about drunk driving laws.