There are a lot of repeat drunk driving offenders on the roads, and if you asked judges, police officers, and local lawmakers, they’d tell you it’s impossible to catch them all. But what if they do catch a repeat drunk driving offender and they let him off easy, thinking he’d never drink and drive again? That’s a dangerous thing to do, because you could end up with a situation like the one that happened in Times Square.
It turns out that the driver responsible for killing one person and injuring twenty two others when he made the choice to drive high into Times Square is actually a repeat drunk driving offender and was caught twice in one year for drinking and driving.
In accordance with New York drunk driving laws, the offender went in front of a judge after he was stopped in September 2015 for a second drunk driving offense. The judge penalized him with a six month driver’s license suspension and was ordered to take part in New York’s Stop DWI program. Unfortunately the judge decided he didn’t have to complete it because he’d received a favorable assessment for drunk drivers after his first offense.
The biggest issue with this repeat drunk driving offender is that he wasn’t required to install an ignition interlock device, and no one is saying why. Although not every state has a first offender interlock law like New York, an ignition interlock is required for repeat drunk driving offenders in most US states. The fact that he wasn’t required to use one is shocking, because how can the judge or anyone else trust that a unattended repeat offender is not going to drive drunk?
All this offender had to do was pay a $500 fee and wait out his six month driver’s license suspension. There’s no indicator that he did or didn’t drink and drive during that period of time, but it’s clear that he made the decision to get behind the wheel high this time and the worst case scenario played out in one of the busiest spots in the world.
This is exactly what every anti-drunk driving advocate and every police officer is afraid of happening after someone is arrested for drunk driving and gets off easy, and it reinforces the need to not give any repeat offender in any state a pass when it comes to drunk or drugged driving.