Tough new drink driving penalties passed

New York’s repeat drink driving offenders could now be jailed for up to seven years, following the introduction of a new law which aims to drive down the number of fatal road accidents in the US state.

New York City

New York City

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed “Vince’s Law” on August 1, 2014, a bill which amends current law by extending the time frame in which multiple DWIs can automatically invoke a felony.

The law increases penalties for offenders who commit three or more DWI-related offences within 15 years, with a maximum prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to US$10,000. Previously, repeat offences might not have been prosecuted as a felony at all.

According to a report by the US Department of Transportation, August is the month with the highest number of fatal car accidents, typically rising to 2,838.

The changes have been welcomed by drinks giant Diageo which has a “zero tolerance” policy on drunk driving.”

Guy L. Smith, executive vice president of Diageo, North America, said: “We implore elected officials across the country to pass meaningful legislation that enforces more severe penalties for hardcore and repeat drunk drivers.

“We thank Governor Cuomo and the New York Legislature for responding to our plea to keep New Yorkers safe and get repeat drunk drivers off the road.”

Vince’s Law was named in memory of Vincent Russo, an 82-year old resident of Onondaga County who was killed in 2011 by a driver who had five previous DWI-related convictions.

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