NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Every day, accidents caused by drunken drivers remind us that driving under the influence still remains a huge problem.
Now, CBS 2 has found convicted drunken drivers are skirting the law and getting behind the wheel over and over again.
One 22-year-old woman, who didn’t want her name to be used, told CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois about the night she was arrested for drunken driving for the second time.
“I don’t really remember getting into the car,” she said.
“A couple of beers turned into a couple of beers and a couple of shots,” she added.
“Crashed my car into a guard rail. The first thing I really remember is just seeing the flashing lights.”
In a separate incident, a man was mowed down by a different repeat drunken driver, who had already served about two years in prison for killing two people. The victim said his body was tossed about 70 feet.
Lawmakers hoped 2009’s Leandra’s Law — in part, requiring convicted drunken drivers to install a Breathalyzer device in their cars — would put an end to repeat drunken driving.
However, documents obtained by CBS 2 show more than 40,000 convicted drivers — nearly three-quarters of offenders — still have not installed ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
“We still have thousands of people out there driving and are a danger to public safety every day of the week,” said Mike Shultis of Lifesafer Interlock Devices.
“It’s a pivotal issue for us,” said Karen Rankin, a Queens prosecutor.
Rankin said there are a handful of ways convicted drivers skirt the law and end up behind the wheel again. For example, people teach drunken drivers in videos how to disable the interlock equipment.
Experts agree the devices work but say the law needs more teeth.
“I wish there were harsher penalties for repeat violators,” said Dorota Marchelewicz with the Queens’ DA office.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, one-third of all drunken driving arrests and crashes involve repeat offenders.
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