Celebrate Responsibly, Save A Life

The holiday season is a time to gather with family and friends, reminiscing about the year gone by, and also looking forward to a brand new year on the horizon. While enjoying this special time, it is imperative that it is done responsibly.
 
December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. The month of December was chosen specifically because of the egregious number of drunk-driving fatalities that occur between Thanksgiving and the New Year.
 
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in the past five years, an average of 300 people have died in drunk-driving crashes from Christmas to the New Year. In fact, 2016 was an especially dangerous year with 781 drunk-driving related deaths in December alone. The numbers are shocking, and the conclusion is simple - driving while intoxicated (DWI) is no accident.
 
DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER
 
Between December 13 and 31, the NHTSA is running its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to highlight the devastating effects of drunk driving and reiterate the consequences if you are pulled over while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Traditionally, law enforcement agencies across the state participate, setting up extra patrols and checkpoints to catch offenders and maintain safety on roadways.

Drivers who are pulled over while under the influence of drugs or alcohol face serious punishments. The average individual spends $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines and other expenses related to a DWI, along with the possible threat of incarceration, especially for repeat offenders. If you decide to imbibe alcohol while celebrating, use the resources available to you or choose to drive sober. With designated drivers, public transportation or ride-sharing services available, there is simply no excuse.     
 
PROTECTING THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK
 
We can do more to hold individuals who make the choice to drive while impaired and put themselves and others in jeopardy accountable. I have sponsored legislation (A.6072) that would create new crimes and increase penalties for persistent offenders who have been convicted three or more times for driving while intoxicated. This bill would result in longer prison sentences and implement other restrictions that would take irresponsible drivers off the road.
 
I also support passing “Angelica’s Law,” which would make driving with five or more license suspensions a felony (A.1715). Angelica’s Law is named after Angelica Nappi, a 14-year-old from Long Island who was tragically killed by a driver with seven license suspensions. Stronger penalties must be imposed on all repeat offenders in order to better protect innocent drivers on our roads and prevent senseless tragedies.
 
I encourage everyone to make the right choice while enjoying the holidays, and to pledge, not only during this time of year, to always drive sober.   
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@nyassembly.gov, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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