CARLUCCI’S COLUMN: Increasing the penalties for DWI

BY STATE SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI

Every May in Rockland County we remember Larisa Karassik. Larisa was just 13-years-old when a repeat drunk driver slammed into her family’s car back on May 23, 2015. Sadly, Larisa did not make it, her father was injured, and the driver of the other vehicle was killed.

Larisa’s tragic death reminds us there is more we have to do to prevent drinking and driving. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention 28 people die every day nationwide due to a crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That is one death every 51 minutes.

The penalties for impaired driving must be more stringent. My bill called the ‘Repeat Offender Revocation Law’ would ensure people who repeatedly drive impaired will lose their license in New York. Currently, a person convicted of two DWIs or more can get their license restored after five years, even if injury is caused in the crash. This sends the wrong message to people and repeat offenders.

It should never even cross someone’s mind that impaired driving could be okay because the penalty for getting caught is not steep enough. Someone who has received multiple DWIs should not be allowed to operate a vehicle and pose a risk to the safety of others. My legislation would make sure a person loses their license permanently after three DWIs, three refusals of a sobriety test, or two DWIs where a physical injury occurs.

Aside from legislation, everyone should know how quickly drinking and driving can turn deadly and change lives forever.  As part of this effort, my office annually sponsors a 5K Fun Run to benefit The Larisa Karassik Foundation. The Fun Run is a time to honor a young life cut far too short and serves as a reminder to people of how a split-second choice can have tragic consequences.

Please take a stand against impaired driving and come out and run in memory of Larisa May 23, 6 p.m. at the Rockland Lake State Park in Valley Cottage.