Even though Americans are being murdered every day on our roads, DWI continues to be one of the most tolerated crimes.

I have said many times that when you drive a car drunk, that car becomes a weapon that can kill. The people driving those cars should be charged appropriately, not given absurdly short prison sentences as occurred in two recent Nassau County DWI death cases.

In addition, we must ensure that our laws give both prosecutors and judges the tools they need to go after individuals who chose to drink and drive. While I have authored tough state DWI laws in recent years - including the law that lowered the state's legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level from .10 to .08 and the law creating new felony crimes for drunk drivers who kill or injure others - more needs to be done to make our roads safe.

This year, one of my top legislative priorities will continue to be to push for legislation to expand the use of ignition interlocks for all DWI convictions - including first-time offenders. These devices, installed in the vehicles of drunk drivers, measure alcohol in the driver's breath and immobilize the car if levels exceed set limits. Interlock systems have been proven extremely effective in ensuring that drunk drivers never drink and drive again.

We must stop senseless DWI-related deaths on our roadways.

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr.

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