Drunken driving is a serious problem, and the state must treat it as such.
Last week, state officials issued regulations to keep persistent drunken drivers from getting their licenses back. Under the new rules, the Department of Motor Vehicles will review the lifetime records of drivers seeking reinstatement after a revocation and deny licenses to any drivers who have five or more alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions. The DMV also will deny relicensing for anyone with three or more such convictions and at least one serious driving offense within the last 25 years, such as causing a fatal crash, officials said.
The consequences of drinking and driving can be deadly. According to the DMV, one-third of the fatalities in the state involved impaired or intoxicated drivers and pedestrians. More than 300 people are killed and more than 6,000 injured annually on New York highways as a result of alcohol-related crashes.
We support the new regulations, but we question whether they're strict enough. Why wait until a person has five or more alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions? How many chances are we willing to give intoxicated drivers before they kill someone?
Pulling the license of first-time offenders would be unreasonable, but allowing motorists who have three or four convictions to continue driving fails to send a strong message.
Sober drivers have a right to the road. Repeat drunken drivers don't.