NY bill dies; would have required special tags for DWI offenders

| 7/11/2005

An effort in the New York Legislature to require convicted drunk drivers in the state to display special license plates that would identify them to police for random stops has died.

The bill, S5646, remained in the Senate Rules Committee when the session ended last month, effectively killing it for the year.

Republican Senators Nick Spano of Westchester and Tom Libous of Binghampton unveiled the effort a little more than a week before lawmakers adjourned June 24 for the year. It sought to require drivers convicted of three drunken-driving offenses in a five-year period – or four within 10 years – to purchase the special license plates. The plates would have included a number or letter code that police could use to easily identify them as convicted drunk drivers.

The plates, which would cost the vehicle owner $100, would have been required to be on the vehicle for two years.

In the days before the Legislature adjourned, opponents of the effort said the special plates could result in frequent police stops, as well as stopping the vehicle when someone else is behind the wheel.

Libous said he understands the concern about police stops but that it is more important to be able to identify historically dangerous drivers.

“That’s unfortunate,” Libous told The Associated Press. “But repeat offenders kill people.”

Libous and Spano can pick up the bill from where it left off when lawmakers return to the Capitol for the session that begins in January 2006.