In an effort to crack down on drivers who have multiple DWI convictions, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles announced on September 25, 2012 a series of new, and much more stringent regulations, for repeat offenders. The most significant of these changes is for those drivers who have committed five or more alcohol or drug related offenses while they have been licensed drivers. Under the new regulations, these drivers would lose their license permanently, with no opportunity to regain driving privileges.
Similarly, drivers who have three or more alcohol or drug related offenses within 25 years, as well as one other serious traffic violations, such as being involved in a fatal crash or being assessed 20 points on their license within the least 25 years, would also be subject to immediate and permanent revocation of their driver’s license.
Under current DMV regulations, even if a driver has been convicted of multiple alcohol or drug offenses, he or she will not permanently lose his or her license. For example, based upon present law, a driver convicted of three alcohol or drug related driving offenses during a four year time frame, or four convictions within an eight year period, will in all likelihood lose his license for five years, and thereafter could apply to be re-licensed. Presently, in order for a driver to be assessed a permanent revocation of his or her license, this usually involves two alcohol convictions connected with serious personal injury accidents.
The new regulations also affect re licensing procedures. For drivers with 3 or 4 alcohol or drug related convictions, but no serious driving violation within the last 25 years, who are seeking to have their licenses reinstated after revocation, the DMV will deny their application for five years beyond their statutory revocations period if they commit an alcohol or drug offense. After the additional time period, the applicant will be eligible for a restricted license to drive to and from work, school and for medical or hospital treatment. Further, if the applicant’s license is reinstated, they must install and maintain an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they own or operate for five years.
The DMV has been pushing for the more stringent regulations based on their reported data that approximately 17,500 licensed drivers who have at least three DWI convictions have been involved in at least one fatal accident or accident which caused serious injury after those convictions. According to the DMV, more than 50,000 drivers with valid or suspended licenses have 3 or more alcohol or drug related convictions since they have been driving, and 15,000 of these operators have had three or more alcohol or drug related convictions in the past twenty years. Annually, more than 300 people are killed and more than 6,000 suffer injury in alcohol-related crashes, and the DMV reports that since 2005, there has been a 6% increase in accidents involving a driver that has already been involved in 3 or more alcohol related crashes.
It is anticipated that as a direct result of the new regulations, approximately 20,000 drivers will have their licenses permanently revoked or their licensing will be postponed to meet the new requirements.