TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono welcomed final legislative approval today of one of three measures aimed at cracking down on individuals repeatedly found guilt of drunk driving.
“Repeat drunk drivers are obviously not getting the message – reckless behavior can get someone killed and must be stopped,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “Today we are passing the final part of a package of legislation that makes sure that drunk drivers learn that getting behind the wheel while under the influence can have dire consequences. Hopefully, we can reduce the number of needless accidents and fatalities.”
Senator Buono’s bill, S-1504, would require municipal prosecutors to review and provide to judges the driving records of certain motor vehicle offenders to determine if they are repeat offenders. The other two bills in the package, S-1502 and S-1503, would help protect New Jersey residents from repeat DWI offenders by increasing the minimum jail period from 10 to 30 days for driving while a license is revoked for a previous DWI conviction and eliminate the “step-down” provision in state law which downgrades subsequent DWI offenses that occur more than 10 years after a previous conviction, respectively. Both of those bills are still pending in the Assembly.
“I don’t know if it’s more troubling to report that there were over 28,000 arrests in New Jersey for drunk driving in 2002 or that over 5,200 of those arrests led to second or third DWI convictions for the drivers. One conviction should be enough to convince them of the dangers of drunk driving, but when that person gets behind the wheel a second and third time, it is proof positive that there is something wrong with how our laws address the problem.”
S-1504 passed the Senate a vote of 39-0. It now now awaits the signature of Governor Codey.