Albany, NY – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo announced today that legislation (A4755/S2712) she introduced to support local STOP-DWI programs was signed into law. The bill was sponsored in the NYS Senate by Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo). Lupardo has worked on this bill for over a decade, and Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar was the bill’s sponsor when he served in the NYS Senate.
The STOP-DWI program was created in 1981 to provide counties with resources to reduce DWIs. After just 10 years, the likelihood of being involved in a drunk driving crash dropped by nearly 70%. However, in recent years, local programs have not received the resources they need to keep pace with the demand. For example, highway fatalities in New York have increased by 17% since 2018 and drug-related highway fatalities have increased 54% since 2014.
The legislation signed into law by Governor Hochul on Wednesday redirects two mandatory surcharges associated with impaired driving offenses directly to county STOP-DWI programs, instead of to the State’s general fund. This will provide an important funding stream to address issues related to increased incidences of drugged driving. This represents a major shift in the future of local STOP-DWI efforts as it will shore up funds needed for enforcement efforts such as checkpoints, increased patrols during State crackdown periods and overtime for local police agencies. Funds also support rehabilitation programs and public awareness campaigns.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “Local STOP-DWI programs are crucial to safe roads and safe communities. Over the years, funding has been diverted from these programs, putting essential services like sobriety checkpoints and driver rehabilitation programs at risk. At the same time, our state faces new challenges, including the opioid crisis and designer drug use. I’d like to thank Governor Hochul for signing our legislation into law and for restoring the funding our STOP-DWI programs from across the state need.”
Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar said, “From my time as a young cop on the street performing DWI patrols to eventually administrating the program and coordinating the shifts as a Captain, I saw firsthand the important role the STOP-DWI plays as a pre-emptive tool to help keep communities safe and get dangerous drivers off the road to prevent avoidable tragedy. During my time as State Senator, I was proud to help support this program by securing the resources needed for volunteers, advocates and law enforcement to spread awareness and save lives. As Sheriff, I’m proud to continue partnering with Assemblywoman Lupardo, who has remained steadfast in supporting the lifesaving work of this program.”Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, "The STOP-DWI program has saved countless lives over the years. The partnership between the Office of Emergency Services, the Sheriff's Office, and other local police agencies has helped crack down on impaired drivers and educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving. With this legislation passed by Assemblywoman Lupardo, they'll have the resources they need to make our roads safer than ever before. Thank you to the Assemblywoman, as well as Sheriff Akshar for their efforts to restore this important funding."