N.Y. Legislators Take Alcohol Fight to Adults; Loss of Driving Privileges Noted

April 19, 2005

New York State Sen. George Maziarz (R-C, North Tonawanda), and Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo, Grand Island) noted new legislation on Tuesday (S 3211/A 6200) that will help fight the battle to stop underage drinking by holding adults responsible for illegally supplying alcohol to minors.

The legislation creates additional penalties for providing alcohol to persons under the legal drinking age by suspending the driver’s
licenses of adults caught unlawfully providing alcohol to persons under the legal drinking age and it was announced in recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month.

In addition to Sen. Maziarz and Assemblymember Hoyt, the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, the Medical Society of the State of New York, the School Administrators Association of New York State, the Empire Liquor Store Association and Diageo (a spirits, beer and wine company) support legislation aimed at reducing underage drinking by deterring adults from providing alcohol to kids.

“This bill protects our kids as it strengthens New York State’s ability to reduce incidents of adults providing alcohol to children,” said Maziarz. “Under the bill, if an adult provides alcohol to a child, he or she could have their driver’s license suspended. We need to hold irresponsible adults accountable and keep our kids safe. This bill will go a long way toward that end.”

According to research on underage drinking, 65 percent of underage
drinkers get their alcohol from family members and adult friends. The Century Council, a not-for-profit educational organization aimed at fighting drunk driving and preventing underage drinking recently revealed that only seven percent of youth report that they obtained alcohol from retailers who failed to check for identification ( http://www.centurycouncil.org ).

Sen. Maziarz and Assemblymember Hoyt were joined by Partners for Zero Tolerance for Underage Access, a coalition of supporters who back additional penalties for illegally supplying alcohol to minors.

“Spring is a time of celebration for families, particularly with proms and
graduation around the corner. Unfortunately, it is also a season of dread for parents, because too often these celebrations turn into a time of personal tragedy as a result of underage drinking,” said Gary Galanis, Diageo vice president of corporate relations.

Diageo is supporting Zero Tolerance coalitions to back similar legislation being introduced in almost 20 states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland, along with Maine, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon. The legislation has been signed into law in Virginia.

Chief John Grebert, executive director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police added, “This legislation will be a great tool to the Police Chiefs of New York State who are fighting every day to keep our streets – and our kids – safe. If this legislation saves just one life or prevents one kid from sustaining a life-altering injury, then we can count this as a success.”

Driver’s License Suspension and Revocation – Furnishing Alcoholic Beverages to a Minor or Allowing Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages by a Minor – allows for Driver’s License Revocation for any adult 21 years and over who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages to a minor for the purpose of consumption by the minor.

For adults convicted of providing alcohol to or allowing the consumption of alcohol by a minor, this legislation grants the New York Department of Motor Vehicles the authority to suspend the driver’s license of that adult for a period of 30 days for the first offense, 90 days for the second offense and one year for the third offense.

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