Reporting Sophia Hall
MINEOLA, N.Y. (WCBS 880/1010 WINS/AP) — A Long Island prosecutor is calling for state legislation that would make wrong-way driving a specific traffic offense.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s proposal follows a spate of 15 wrong-way driving arrests in recent months on Long Island. In most of the wrong-way cases, drivers are suspected of being drunk or under the influence of drugs.
“We cannot prosecute that drunk driver for driving the wrong way on a limited access highway or two-way street because the law doesn’t allow us to so that has to be amended,” Rice said.
Rice wants the Dept. of Transportation to install rumble strips on exit ramps, which would make a vehicle vibrate if the driver is going in the wrong direction, and hopefully Rice said the drunk driver will stop the car.
In one case in November, an off-duty New York City police officer was killed by an alleged drunk driver going the wrong direction on the Northern State Parkway.
Rice says she intends to meet with state transportation officials to discuss other strategies for reducing wrong-way crashes. She says the first step should be to change state laws to criminalize wrong-way driving.
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