New Year’s Eve is here, and that brings extra DWI checkpoints and arrests of drunk drivers who were celebrating a little too much. Many people think that having a couple of drinks won’t affect their driving ability, or they may think that drinking and driving really isn’t that big of a problem.
Unfortunately, drinking and driving is a huge problem in New York. About a third of the traffic fatalities in New York State involve intoxicated or impaired pedestrians or drivers. And studies have shown that any amount of drinking will affect a driver’s coordination and judgment. How much a person becomes impaired depends on the amount of alcohol that person drinks, whether food is eaten before or while drinking, a person’s weight, and the length of time spent drinking.
If you do choose to drink and drive, the chances of being caught are better than ever. New York State has a program called STOP-DWI that returns drunk driving fines to counties if they use the money to operate programs for drunk driving enforcement, prosecution, adjudication, and education. Every New York county has a STOP-DWI program.
The penalties for a DWI in New York are steep. If you are under 21, your driver’s license will be revoked for a year if you are convicted of a DWI in New York, or if you refuse to take a chemical test. If you commit a second offense while you’re under 21, your license is revoked for a year or until you turn 21, whichever’s longer. People over 21 receive either a three month or six month license suspension or revocation. In addition to the loss of your driver’s license, people caught drinking and driving face a jail sentence and a fine, as well as increased insurance premiums in the future and other negative consequences.