Cuomo signs bill to keep kids safe from drunk drivers

New safeguards are in place to keep children safe from drunk drivers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Friday that strengthens Leandra's Law. Originally signed in 2009, it imposed new penalties on drunk drivers with children in the car.

The new legislation updates the current law, making it a felony to drive drunk on a conditional license. Drivers who lose their license for drunk driving may be issued a conditional license when enrolled in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program run by the DMV. A conditional license may be used only for driving to and from work, school or medical appointments. Currently, driving drunk on a revoked license is a felony, but driving drunk on a conditional license is only a traffic infraction. This change makes the penalties equivalent.

The new law also limits the circumstances in which a court can waive the installation of an interlock device to only when a person under oath attests that he or she is not the owner of a motor vehicle and will not operate any vehicle during the period of the interlock restriction. Lying under oath would be considered perjury. The legislation also expands the requirements for the use of ignition interlock devices by making youthful offenders subject to the same ignition interlock requirements that are now applicable to adults. "Driving under the influence puts everyone on the road at risk. By strengthening Leandra's Law we are continuing the strides made in her memory to combat this dangerous behavior and prevent additional senseless tragedy," Governor Cuomo said.

Leandra's Law was named after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed in a crash while a passenger in a car driven by a drunken driver.

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