New York Governor Signs Law to Keep Drunk Drivers off the Road

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm announce that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a new bill in to law which will render driving drunk on a conditional license a felony. Driving on a conditional license was previously just a traffic violation.

Drivers who are arrested for drunken driving in New York are often issued a conditional license, if they can afford the large fee, which enables them to drive but only under specific conditions, such as to work, school or medical appointments. Obtaining a conditional license also requires the offender to enroll in an alcohol/drug rehabilitation program. Those with revoked licenses who did not apply for a conditional license, if caught driving, will still be charged with a felony.

The increased penalty will strengthen the already-existing Leandra’s Law, which imposes harsh penalties on motorists driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle. The law was named after an 11-year-old girl who was a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver, who ultimately crashed the vehicle, killing Leandra.

The new law will also limit the circumstances that a court can waive the ignition interlock installation mandate. Now, a judge can only waive the requirement if a person swears under oath that they do not own a motor vehicle, and will not drive in any manner during the period of interlock restriction. Additionally, minors will now be subject to the same interlock ignition requirements as adult drivers.

Virginia also recently increased penalties for underage drunk drivers. Now, teenagers in Virginia who are caught drinking and driving will lose their license for one year, have to complete 50 hours of community service, and pay a $500 fine.

Although increased legislation and legal consequences are intended to curb the deaths and injuries on our nation’s roadways, there are still significant risks even for Samaritans with the best intentions. Just about a week ago, in July 2013, a pedestrian was killed on California Interstate 280 when he was attempting to help others involved in a crash.

The 33-year-old man pulled his Jeep over near Woodside Road to help other motorists who had just been in an accident and seemed critically injured. He stopped his Jeep on the shoulder and tried to run across the freeway to reach the victims when he was struck and killed by another car.

Though his actions were honorable, the Highway Patrol urges motorists who see a catastrophic crash on the road to call 911 instead of getting out of the car to go to their aid. If you do decide to stop, however, there are a few precautions you can take to minimize your risk of personal injury.

First off, if you are questioning whether or not the victims actually need any assistance, do not stop. If additional aid is desperately needed, they will flag you down. Second, how and where you stop your vehicle is of critical importance. You should aim to stop about 50 feet before the scene of the crash with hazard lights flashing and wheels turned away from the scene.

Do not for any reason attempt to cross a highway to assist victims. Unless you are a paramedic, nurse, or doctor, do not attempt to move an injured person except if there is a risk of fire or imminent death. For bleeding, it is best to simply apply direct pressure to the wound. Always remember to be wary of any dogs in vehicles, as they may be confused, hurt, and protective of their injured human.

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating on behalf of those seriously injured in a crash caused by the negligence of another. If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a lawsuit against the negligent party, and should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

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