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Press release from PR Newswire

Diageo Congratulates New York Governor for Successful Initiative to Keep Repeat DWI Offenders off the Road

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Diageo Congratulates New York Governor for Successful Initiative to Keep Repeat DWI Offenders off the Road

09:01 EDT Thursday, June 06, 2013

New Yorkers Kept Safe from 3,164 Potentially Dangerous Motorists

NORWALK, Conn., June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the summer road travel season begins, Diageo reaffirmed the company's zero tolerance policy regarding drunk driving by congratulating New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for the success of his tough new DWI regulations.  Governor Cuomo announced recently that almost 3,200 drivers with a history of repeat alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions have been kept off the road in New York since these rules took effect last September.  New York now has some of the toughest protections in the nation against individuals who persistently drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

New York's new regulations have enabled the State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to deny or restrict applications for relicensing from people with more than 2 alcohol- or drug-related driving offenses on their record.  Significantly, all of the applicants whose licenses were reinstated received either an A-2 "problem driver" license (limiting their driving to work, medical appointments, etc.) and/or are required to drive with an ignition interlock on their car to prevent the car from starting when the driver is intoxicated. 

Before these regulations were in place, repeat drunk drivers could get a conditional license with full driving privileges in just seven weeks by completing the DMV's Drinking Driver Program.  Some drivers still had a license with six or more alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions on their record. Before the Governor's actions, the only time a driver really faced losing a license permanently was when he or she had two alcohol- or drug-related convictions arising from separate crashes involving a physical injury. The DMV's new regulations now ensure that repeat drunk drivers either lose their license permanently or must wait until their full term of suspension or revocation has ended before regaining any driving privileges.

New York State statistics demonstrate why repeat offenders must be the focus of efforts to protect public safety on the roads:

  • Currently, more than 48,000 drivers with valid or only temporarily suspended licenses have 3 or more alcohol-related convictions in their lifetimes, and the convictions of 15,000 of those drivers happened within the last 20 years.
  • As of April 2012, 17,519 licensed drivers who already had 3 or more alcohol-related convictions had been involved in at least one crash that injured or killed someone AFTER those convictions.

"Initiatives like Governor Cuomo's provide meaningful solutions to reducing alcohol-related fatalities," said Guy L. Smith IV, Executive Vice President, Diageo North America.  "In contrast and while well-intentioned, the NTSB's call for lowering the BAC to .05 will not effectively address the issue of drunk driving and is a distraction from the core issue of high BAC repeat drunk drivers."

Diageo supported Governor Cuomo's regulations when asked to comment on them last November.  At that time, Diageo said in a letter to the Department of Motor Vehicles: "We appreciate and strongly support the Governor's efforts to keep repeat drunk drivers off the road ? and permanently in the case of the worst offenders.  Recidivism of drunk drivers should not be tolerated by the law."

Diageo, an industry leader in promoting responsible drinking, works to support a responsible night-time economy. The company promotes the responsible consumption of alcohol by those adults who choose to drink and currently supports more than 300 programs to tackle alcohol misuse in 49 countries. 

Diageo is also committed to working with New York's Governor and Legislature to pass legislation requiring New York State Liquor Authority licensees caught selling alcohol to minors to use ID scanners, as well as state-wide Social Host legislation to penalize adults who create the opportunities for minors to drink alcohol.  Similar Social Host legislation has already passed several counties throughout New York State.

About DiageoDiageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J?B, Windsor, Buchanan's and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, Guinness, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards Wines.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.


For further information: Alix Dunn, Diageo, 203.229.4744 or Rachel Rosenblatt, FTI , 646.576.8106

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