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Getting tougher on those who continue to drink and drive

Thursday, November 07, 2013 - Updated: 9:17 AM

The state of New York has taken another step on the road toward providing more discomfort to those who don't think before driving while intoxicated. It is now a felony to get caught behind the wheel with a conditional license and a snoot full of hooch. Good.

Conditional licenses are those given to people who have already been busted for DWI but then have subsequently enrolled in an alcohol and drug rehab program run by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. This kind of license allows the guilty party to drive to and from essential places -- like work, school and doctors' appointments; not to and from the tavern. That's not the intent. Yet enough of them do; ergo, this latest change.

It used to be that this penalty resulted in a traffic infraction. You could get a ticket for your continued ego-inflated stupidity. Now, it's much worse. The penalty is the same as getting busted for driving drunk with a revoked license. As it should be.

This new adjustment to the state's DWI penalties is welcomed. It's never too early to start paying attention to the repeat offender -- that special person who follows up the potential for the catastrophe, personal inconvenience and considerable expense a DWI arrest or conviction carries, with the continued flaunting of these life-saving measures. And these are intended as life-saving measures.

DWI laws are not put in place as a happy-hour inconvenience to motorists. For if that's how you feel, your problems, perhaps, run deeper than you realize. Or dare to admit.

DWI laws exist to protect the innocent. They should also serve as a deterrent to idiocy. Far too often, they fail in this latter regard.

Here's hoping the latest crackdown on those who continue to drink and drive serves its purpose. Here's also hoping that those who drink, drive, get caught, drink, drive and get caught again are encouraged to find a hobby that better suits them. Because they're obviously not very good at this one.

     

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