New York’s state-sponsored STOP DWI program found itself on one local news resource’s Good, Bad, and Ugly list, but not for the reasons that one may think. The program, meant to decrease the incidence of drunk driving and DWI charges in New York by promoting awareness regarding DWI laws and the consequences of violating them, is one of the strongest in the Nation. However, many are questioning a recent sign campaign the organization has implemented around Madison County, New York.
STOP DWI’s sign campaign landed on the July 20, 2013 Uticaod.com column “Our Views: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly,” after initiating a statewide campaign featuring roadside signs with certain catchphrases meant to caution and educate drivers about the law and hazards of drunk driving. The particular sign that has caused the recent controversy was posted near the Madison County Fair. The sign states, “Driving Drunk? Please!!! Don’t take your kids with you. Be sure a sober driver takes them home!”
The message appears to be aimed at promoting awareness of New York’s Leandra’s law, which became part of New York’s DWI laws in 2009. According to STOP DWI’s website, under Leandra’s Law, driving with a child 15-years-old or younger while drunk or impaired by drugs is a Class E Felony, and is punishable by up to four years in prison. The legislation was passed after a young victim of a DWI-related accident passed away and her father lobbied to strengthen legislation aimed at protecting children from drunk driving accidents.
The UticaOD does not disapprove of STOP DWI’s efforts in their entirety, but rather appears to be perplexed by the Madison County sign’s message. In a separate article, the UticaOD explains that it understands that the sign’s language instructs parents and other drivers not to drive with kids, but takes issue with the fact that it does not advise against drinking and driving in its entirety. In other words, the sign’s message may be misconstrued as condoning drinking and driving as long as children are not in the vehicle.
John Becker, chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors states that he can see how the sign’s message may be misunderstood. He notes that the signs have been posted for awhile, and that they are likely variations of the versions suggested by the state. Local STOP DWI groups are allowed to put their own twists on slogans given to them by the state. However, Stephen Goodfriend, coordinator of Madison County STOP DWI states that the sign does not in any way condone drinking and driving if only adults are in the vehicle.
If you have been charged with violating DWI laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced DWI attorney. A DWI attorney can help you understand the charges against you, and their consequences, and can defend your case. Call the experienced attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today for a confidential consultation.
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