Starting to Drive Home DWI Difficulties - John Sullivan


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We've John Sullivan in studio with us this morning. John is chairman of the State's stock DW I association and director of Erie county stop DWI office and John we learned just yesterday that they DWI numbers. Locally are down arrests are down. 2% if you go over the past year. I would imagine that that's encouraging to you but why are those numbers down. Well it's always better when fewer people are are driving drunk so I think that's and positive take away from that. The 2% figure is actually around since the beginning of ride share began here in buffalo on July of 2017 so. Everybody wants to know what effect is has right chair had to Hoover and lift and those kind of services what kind of effect that it had on. I'm drinking and driving. It's it's got to be a positive thing it's hard to attribute a drop in arrests in any one factor. That's you know over the last years and 2% drop we're in a general period of declining arrests. And I think that's because of the the ongoing moment momentum that we have people are getting the message there is very severe penalties. And you know once people hear about what happens to them once they get a DW I have people don't want any part of that. You know eat a lot of people look at these numbers declining arrests over a certain period of time talking about give or take off hundred. Arrests is that a decline in DWY. Ers are just a decline in DW I arrests. Well these the actual numbers are lower so over the last five years they've come down about 20%. So and you know taking a short period look it's hard to attribute you know plus or minus a hundred arrests have been. Over a long period of time they've been declining generally that's true across the state. And on top of that anecdotal reports from the from police agencies that are they're just saying they're just fewer people out there that are doing it they are fining people using you know over in lift. And so when they're they're out there on patrol. On Thursday Friday and Saturday nights than most arrests are made they're just saying there's not as many out there is there used to be and that's a good thing. You know so the numbers are down but it still seems that. For most of people that are involved there repeat offenders that you're dealing with time and time again right. Well the 30% of the arrests are people that have had a prior DW I comment and so one of the biggest indicators of receiving indeed have you guys having a prior one. So it is becoming a more chronic driver problem I think the social part of this has been one victory casual drinker. What they were to go out and there are going to be drinking and they know that they're thinking ahead and they're making plans ahead because I don't wanna. Drive afterwards but so and it's into a habitual pattern of consumption. Those are the people that we're seeing more more often. You know why is that that is it just simply that happened because you look at some of the penalties it's something we've been talking about all morning long you think that would be enough. For somebody to say okay it's time for me to change whatever that habit might be but says 30% so I mean obviously it's not. Yeah well and that there's a a lot of components to that there are people that are suffering with you know your ability to control their consumption characters that's a component of it. And there are new drivers and he's crop of drivers coming on every year. And the good news is it's very few. People under 21 are being arrested for DW I mean that that message is going out. Some time they're in kindergarten writes it's always been that way. And so that's that's happening fewer pure with new drivers. But I think you're right it just that people have a habitual. You know lifestyle pattern not habitual in terms of you know a substance abuse problem that they're just into a pattern of behavior. And just over time the more frequently a person does it the more likely they are rearrested. Johnny you know and is it that municipalities. Wanna put these people back out on the street or. They just don't want to bear the expense of putting them in jail you know when he sees these repeat offenders getting out again and again. Well there's a menu of us sanctions available to the court when a persons convicted they certainly can put them in jail. For repeat offenders and some people do. There's also steps prior to jail so probation 23% of our provision that population are people aren't on their for DW I. So they're being supervised. You know more more intensively than than a lot of other crimes that's a big can be part of what to Probation Department does. This interim step between jail and and just letting them go. But there's you know and for first time offenders jail is a very infrequently. Given. On Anders but there's a lot of other sanctions before the before jail that can have an effect on and their behavior. Now want to I get into a little bits of us some of these punishments and know what you're seeing as a result of them when it comes to. Repeat offenders but do you mentioned you know from kindergarten people now now and not too. Drink carrard drive after they've been drinking it's been a culture change hasn't it over the past what would say twenty years. Yeah well near criminalized he did you find 1980 to receive been at this for thirty years and they're certainly has been a culture change I think about. I mean I'm I come from a period I remember that time. And so he's had decreased to tell stories at the water cooler night and you know my gosh I can't believe they were parked my car and figure that out. Nobody does it anymore it's not funny and now so people don't talk about that way any longer. But and on top of that him in 1982. You could have looked at all the sanctions on one side of one sheet of paper. I'm now there's many pages of the being trapped vehicle traffic law I have to deal with the various punishments that come along with a DWI. Not just the fines but they're court surcharges the loss of license you know the criminal side of it is. You know that the conviction and the fines within the Department of Motor Vehicles has its own set of sanctions against drinking drivers of both systems. Come to bear on a person that gets a DW I and it's pretty painful specially Buffalo, New York if you don't have a car. Our pretty vehicle a standard of players who don't have public transportation like they doing in New York City thumps of usury your ability to drive in Buffalo, New York. That's a pretty stiff sanctions but she can't go to Canada for ten years. That's a pretty big thing maybe that is being in being in Binghamton but and also New York that's a significant sanction. Yeah and is that. Because of Canada's laws or because of what's good laws here. Now that's a Canadian a Canadian law that's for them and DW I prohibits and entrance to Canada for ten years. Our focus this morning on DW line in western new York and there's so many reasons to not drink and drive but once you hear pretty frequently. And the one many in law enforcement hopes grabs your attention. Is the impact it can happen your wallet WBN's Matt Moran brings us more with legal and court fees in the rise in insurance the costs over Cohen DW I can pile up idea if you I attorney Arthur Preston says if you want the proper representation. It's going to cost you. He is doing no inexpensive way of calling about it than you could certainly shopped around to look just look for ice to go to the current move most things. A lot of undue bureaucratic or. Preston does say though buffalo is lower than the state in national average when it comes to legal fees. He's as a high rate of attorneys per capita as a possible reason expect the total cost to be about 75 under for first offense here rises habits multiple offenses Preston says the cost facing the allotment is worth it but how important it is to be able to drive. Not be able to very very typical of us here at. Olympic well a lot of public transportation would have subways chemical all the little and we don't have you know streak are little one critical mass transit troubled suburb folks can't try to work. You can't try to he has he can go to school. Which huge. Preston says is best advice to find someone who focuses on DW I cases. Matt Moran newsreader at 930 to DB yen. Joining us live in studio is John Sullivan former chairman of the New York State stop DW I association also director Erie county's stop DWI office. John you just heard that right there you know I think a lot of people here. At whether it's ads for attorneys things like that saying don't you know don't encourage this you know why are we helping these people but. That message she'd keep hearing that figure over and over again 101000 dollars. That might be as big of a deterrent as there can be sure. The money sanction is one of the the biggest. Deterrence to it. And a lot of that money is not paid to the government so most of that is kind of private vendors you certainly need a lawyer because it's criminal procedure. But the biggest portion of that is on your automobile insurance. Everybody knows that we pay for opera mobile insurance that easily double and possibly triple depending on your driving record. So that's for the 101000 dollar figure comes from over for five years after I after India rely. And top of that a lot of the sanctions earning cardinal law other people that lose their jobs. If you have if you drive for for a living you can Coke can go to work every day. And there's a societal cost of that you know promotions or ugly people are looking at people who drink and drive on it there's a lot of cost to it that are leaving part of the statute. And I absolutely. Families break up over this too right I mean sure it doesn't go over well at home for sure right and especially when you have to spend money yeah. And that you could have used other ways and on the sort of a process worked in studio with John Sullivan of Erie county's stop DWI office John talking a lot about GW line but. Some of the new concerns that are being raised by yourself and others. Come with a possible legalization. Of marijuana kind of happening across the country state by state talking about here in New York. One of the thoughts is that you know people who smoke and drive. Are already doing it they're already on the roads will we see an increase what have you seen from states that have legal. Well around Colorado is the first state to do that it did in 2014. Armed recent spa research out of that state shall 14% increase in traffic fatalities due to impaired. People impaired by marijuana. And it's only true Colorado its in the states that surround Colorado. So you know whatever the argument is about to legalization. When you're talking about traffic safety it's going to be a a bad thing for traffic safety. But that's in the mix of boat people won and went into it or don't do it. New York is already going to be in the feel it because it's it's legally and in Massachusetts and and Vermont now. So people who cross the border into it ended you know those states purchase it brings back to to New York where it's illegal to have to possessing and news. For at the moment and but if they're going to be driving after that. They're going to be. Don't be arrested there's a law against that in in New York already. Please probably error. Discouraging the the approval of this. Yep that's who I would front a trip from a traffic safety perspective it's not going to be a positive thing I would not legalize marijuana but the likelihood of it happening maybe not next year but within the next say five years of pretty likely the way it's happening across the country. Should we expect to see more of that. Driver education the same way we see it with drinking and driving. Going with marijuana use and driving very soon. Well yeah you're right it says seem that seems to be the way. Legalization so we're you know we're ready for them you're training for police officers on. You know accuse her intoxication by. I'm marijuana outlets secular ourselves. Impaired driving by drugs other than alcohol have always been with us and so. We are able to detect it and and take blood tests to sort of a breathalyzer so there are ways to detect it. And I think we should just treat it like you know the other kinds of impairment to come from any other substance. Just stick to it it's been pretty successful in New York I'm reducing alcohol driving. Impairment. Images to keep keep playing that game as long as we can. Are in studio guest is John Sullivan who is the director of Erie county's stop DW my office John's been joining us. In studio for the past hour so we talked about. Repeat offenders and how big of a problem that seems to be when it comes to DW line. Some of the things that are in place to you know stop that from happening stop the repeat offenders. You say actually work. Pretty well and no one of those the the breathalyzer that you have to use to operate your car web is that used no one is that forced to constantly. So that's a mandatory sanctions for anybody convicted of driving while intoxicated DW I in New York. There's another charge New York driving while impaired which does not carry that as a mandatory sanctions but. Tougher person convicted of the misdemeanor DW I. They're due to mandatory that they install an ignition in airlock device which means they have to provide. Clear breath tests before their car will start. And there's multiple after they started to have to do a test in a few moments. To make sure they didn't have some mail started and the Roland on the road so there's all kinds of safeguards to it to not be able to circumvent the device and drive your car. I just thinking how could you prevent somebody else from sitting in that car and blowing into it. Yeah well there's a camera every time the person blows into the device is a picture taken. A minute there's a failure that that. Picture and that it failures sent. To the the monitoring opposite stuck in in my office in your county monitors. Those people that have that device. And if we find a violation we report that back to the court. So up pretty sophisticated technology it seems like that has to work well there prevent repeat offenders right yeah well it's almost full proof the only way and a person can get another DW I used to drive a car without that device. Which in itself is another crime you know allowed to do that. But if you're if you're intoxicated you're not going to be able to start the car that has a device on it so. It's it's full proof in that way the other security thing about it is that so people know they're gonna have to blow into the device. That doesn't stop people from drinking a can still certainly do that. But the idea that they're gonna they're gonna drive their car afterwards. There they have to monitor their consumption they have to really break the habitual. Consumption and so over time. That might you know given the chance to. Think more seriously about to whether they should be thinking when there how long is that on somebody's car for here it's mandatory for twelve months. Cost about 15100 dollars for the whole twelve month installation. The court does have the option to release some and after six months it's it's all the device. But a lot of people 40% of people that are ordered to put that on actually put the device on the other people turn their cars and they take the plates off and the the take the car off the road and they don't drive freer. I'd rather not do that and and then incur that expense that's right. But it's a tough place should be able to just take your car off the road to. Have right and then you're not driving at all. That and then you have to go back to the DMV a year later and have that restriction on your license removed it in a place like buffalo you mention it before not driving at all it's almost not an option for people especially they have to get around effort workers I mean you name it alpha and number of things you need car for. Here debt has to be a big deterrent for people but also. Is it may do one of the reasons why you know buffalo in the past has had that problem because we are so dependent. On cars and is that changing. You know there's pretty good bus service on the main lines of and in buffalo if you live on Seneca street were on the on the other main main streets of buffalo. But if you're out in the rural areas on it's pretty hard to to find a way to get get to a bus line in and use it so. Public transportation is not an option for. Now suburbanites that they're doing it used to travel going to and from work in and going to places after work him grocery shopping and all that that things so. The people do get conditional driver's licenses when they get a DW fighters conditional driver's license they can drive to and from work. Certain medical. Appointments. But it's really restricted you get three hours of free time each each each week. To drive your car. Three hours to do know where every one in three hours ago wherever you want to but you have to designate those hours on your license and it's part of your documentation if you were to be stopped the spread on the rate in the document the police officer reveals it. Then another another consequence of solace to it would mention briefly earlier is Canada. If you are convicted of data you why you cannot cross into Canada cracked for ten years. Yeah that is correct and so it's it's one of the things and I teach a course to people that do to get to get a conditional driver's license. It's the biggest surprise for most people. And I didn't know I couldn't go to Canada for ten years. Oh you're gonna hear people say oh yeah I've I've gone back and forth to Canada had a DW I there is some discretion. On the part of the border. Immigration officers from Canada. But very recent DW I will very likely are you from going to Canada. For for ten years. And then there's a process you gotta go through it to gain reentry into complete forms for the Canadian government to get your permission back. So many deterrent simply I mean all the things we mentioned whether it's Canada or all of the the conditional driver's license and there's all thief. Associated with everything it when it's all said and done we hear that. 101000 dollars is what it costs say it I average if you get a DW I is that number. Pretty much sure what it is 101000 hours could it be more going to be last season. We could be more depending on we heard mr. Pressman talk about legal representation. And you can to can easily be 101000 dollars just for the lawyer. So I multiple offenses were we can going east and be 20000. And we're not even talking about if there's a crash or any other kind of you know vehicular assault or homicide if you're hurt somebody while doing it. I can easily be three times that. And still we're talking about 30% of data via virus and they're repeat offenders that's right. That's right so it would that this one of these indicators of getting it DW I is having a prior one so. It's and that's by the sanctions that are earned you know what. Quickly. After the first offense I think that's an eye opening number and hopefully some of those dollar figures eye opening numbers for every one listening out there John we thank you so much for stopping in and joining us for the past hour. It's my pleasure thank you. That's John Sullivan he's the director of Erie county's stop DWY office much more on this topic at WB into account.